Government Majority Slashed by Two Thirds on Heathrow

29.1.2009   (Hacan)

Biggest rebellion on an opposition motion since Labour came to power in 1997

At the end of the debate in the House of Commons yesterday on Heathrow expansion
the Government’s majority was slashed by two-thirds.   It scraped home by a mere
19 votes.   If 8 Democratic Unionists had voted with the opposition parties instead
of the Government, Labour’s majority would have been down to one.   As it was,
this was the biggest rebellion on an opposition motion since Labour came to power
in 1997.

Two Labour MPs, Andy Slaughter and Virendra Sharma, resigned from their junior
ministerial posts in opposition to the Government’s plans for a 3rd runway.

John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN, said, "This vote is another nail in the coffin
for the Government’s plans to build a 3rd runway.   It becomes less likely by the
day that the runway will ever be built."



Notes for Editors:

(1).   The London and South East Labour MPs who voted against the Government were
Diane Abbott, Harry Cohen, Jeremy Corbyn, Frank Dobson, Kate Hoey, John McDonnell,
Andrew Mackinlay, Bob Marshall-Andrews, Nick Raynsford, Martin Salter, Virendra
Sharma, Andrew Slaughter and Andrew Smith.
(for full list of Labour MPs who voted against the Government, see below, and the for wording of the motion)

The Hansard report on the Heathrow debate is at:


List of MPs contributions to the debate at:



Details of how MPs voted   at   (down at the bottom):



see also


Government scrapes home in Heathrow expansion vote

The Government  narrowly won a vote on the controversial 3rd runway at Heathrow
on Wednesday after a ministerial aide quit in disgust over the plan.   The debate
saw a series of protests from Labour backbenchers.  The government’s majority
of 63 was cut to 19 (297 votes to 278)  in a Commons vote after Andrew Slaughter
resigned as a PPS. After the vote Labour MP Virendra Sharma quit an unpaid government
post to fight the plans. 57 Labour MPs had previously signed EDM 2344, of whom
28 voted for the Conservative motion. (BBC and Telegraph)   28.1.2009  
More …..
In full: Heathrow rebel MPs
The government has won a vote on its plans to build a third runway at Heathrow
airport but saw its majority cut to 19.

A total of 28 Labour MPs rebelled to vote for a Conservative/Lib Dem motion urging
the government to “rethink” its plans. They were:

  • Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington)
  • Harry Cohen (Leyton & Wanstead)
  • Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
  • Jim Cousins (Newcastle upon Tyne Central)
  • Frank Dobson (Holborn & St Pancras)
  • David Drew (Stroud)
  • Frank Field (Birkenhead)
  • Paul Flynn (Newport West)
  • Ian Gibson (Norwich North)
  • John Grogan (Selby)
  • Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
  • Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
  • Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak)
  • Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool Walton)
  • John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington)
  • Andrew Mackinlay (Thurrock)
  • Bob Marshall-Andrews (Medway)
  • Michael Meacher (Oldham West & Royton)
  • George Mudie (Leeds East)
  • Chris Mullin (Sunderland South)
  • Gordon Prentice (Pendle)
  • Nick Raynsford (Greenwich & Woolwich)
  • Martin Salter (Reading West)
  • Virendra Sharma (Ealing Southall)
  • Alan Simpson (Nottingham South)
  • Andrew Slaughter (Ealing Acton & Shepherd’s Bush)
  • Andrew Smith (Oxford East)
  • David Taylor (Leicestershire North West)
(from the BBC)
No Tories defied the whip.
The wording of the motion, put by Teresa Villiers,  was:
“That this House urges the Government to rethink its plans for a third runway
at Heathrow Airport and to give full consideration to alternative solutions; regrets
the Government’s heavy reliance on data supplied by BAA in assessing the case
for expansion and notes the likely forthcoming break-up of BAA’s ownership of
three of 5 London’s airports following the investigation by the Competition Commission;
believes that the consultation paper Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport was deeply
flawed, as it paid insufficient regard to the costs of air and noise pollution
in the surrounding areas and the commitment to curb carbon dioxide emissions to
tackle climate change; regrets the fact that provisions to improve high-speed
rail lines from 10 Heathrow to major cities have not been fully explored, along
with the potential of other UK airports to handle more long-haul flights; and
urges the Government to initiate a consultation on a new national planning policy
statement on the theme of airports and high-speed rail.”
which was lifted verbatim from early-day motion 2344 in 2008.
The 29 Labour MPs who signed the EDM, but did not actually vote in favour of
the motion, were:
Austin, John

Bayley, Hugh

Berry, Roger

Caton, Martin

Challen, Colin

Chaytor, David

Clwyd, Ann

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, Ann

Dean, Janet

Gerrard, Neil

Godsiff, Roger

Hamilton, Fabian

Heyes, David

Illsley, Eric

Keen, Alan

Linton, Martin

McCafferty, Chris

Murphy, Denis

Olner, Bill

Palmer, Nick

Riordan, Linda

Soulsby, Peter

Stoate, Howard

Taylor, David

Thornberry, Emily

Tipping, Paddy

Truswell, Paul

Turner, Desmond

Vis, Rudi