Labour opposition could try to block Heathrow 3rd runway in the Commons
Labour could vote against plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway, in a move that could see the plan blocked by Parliament. Senior allies of Jeremy Corbyn told the Financial Times that he and colleagues are almost certain to oppose the 3rd runway in a Commons vote – on environmental grounds. This means the plans for the £16.5billion runway are at significant risk, because as many as 60 Tory MPs are also opposed to the expansion of Heathrow. It could leave PM Theresa May dependent on the support of the Scottish National Party and rebel MPs, as she tries to push the plans through Parliament. Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, and Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, have been given a free vote on the issue (the vote may be some time after June 2018) because of their long standing fierce opposition to the runway. John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, is a vociferous opponent of the scheme. The position of Labour is that the runway would have to pass four rather vague tests – and unless the bar for each is set ludicrously low, the Heathrow runway cannot pass any of them in any satisfactory manner. The issue of the high levels of air pollution, damaging the health of thousands of people near Heathrow, is a serious one for Labour. There are also probably insuperable problems of plane noise, and increased CO2 emissions.
Labour could try to block Heathrow third runway in the Commons
by Steven Swinford, deputy political editor (Telegraph)
24 AUGUST 2017
Labour could vote against plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport in a move that could see the decades-long plan blocked by Parliament.
Senior allies of Jeremy Corbyn told the Financial Times that he and colleagues are almost certain to oppose the third runway in a Commons vote on environmental grounds.
The move means the plans for the £16.5billion runway are at significant risk because as many as 60 Tory MPs are opposed to the expansion of Heathrow.
It could leave Theresa May, the Prime minister, dependent on the support of the Scottish National Party and rebel MPs as she tries to push the plans through Parliament.
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, and Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, have been given a free vote on the issue. The vote is expected to take place in the first half of next year.
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, is a vociferous opponent of the scheme. One senior Labour figure told the Financial Times: “It has to pass our tests and no one here expects that to be likely.”
Another senior Labour figure said: “If the vote is any time soon there is no way we would back it, mainly on the basis of air quality, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.”
Labour’s manifesto said that the party would need to be satisfied that certain environmental conditions were being met if it was to give it’s backing to Heathrow. The manifesto said that noise and air quality issues would have to be met, along with the UK’s climate change obligations.
Labour ready to oppose third runway for Heathrow over pollution fears
by Patrick Maguire (The Times)
August 25th 2017
Jeremy Corbyn has said he opposes expansion at Heathrow because of noise and pollution
Labour could block a third runway at Heathrow over air pollution concerns. Senior party figures hinted yesterday that the leadership was preparing to oppose the plans.
Allies of Jeremy Corbyn have said there is “no way” the party would support a new runway.
A leaked draft of Labour’s manifesto at the last election committed the party to supporting Heathrow expansion but this was later watered down and any specific reference to Heathrow omitted.
The final version said merely that Labour recognised the need for additional airport capacity in the southeast. It guaranteed the party would implement strict environmental and economic tests focusing on noise pollution, air quality, meeting the UK’s climate change obligations and supporting economic growth across the country.
Several senior Labour figures have already made their opposition to a third runway public and last year Mr Corbyn said that historically he had not backed expansion “because of the issues of noise and pollution across west London”.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, oppose any expansion. Mr Khan backs a new runway at Gatwick while Mr McDonnell’s constituency in Hayes and Harlington, west London, includes the airport.
Dozens of Conservative MPs, including ministers such as Boris Johnson and Justine Greening, are also known to oppose the plans and expect to be given a free vote on the issue next year.
Organised opposition from Labour could tip the balance in favour of the anti-expansion camp, though the Scottish National Party and Democratic Unionists support a new runway, as do some Labour MPs.
Mr Corbyn acknowledged last year that it would “not be easy” to whip MPs to block expansion.
Shadow cabinet sources said yesterday that there had been no shift in policy from Labour’s manifesto. They did not deny, however, that the party could eventually vote against the third runway on environmental grounds.
A source close to the Labour leader rejected suggestions that the leadership was on a drive to block expansion. “Our policy has not changed. We will make our decision based on the four tests we set out, but no pre-judgments have been made,” the source said.
Last night a spokesman for Mr Khan said: “Sadiq believes that we need extra airport capacity in the southeast of England to support jobs and growth, but the government is pressing ahead with the wrong decision.
“A third runway at Heathrow would make London’s terribly polluted air much worse. There is strong opposition to Heathrow expansion from MPs across London and the southeast, and ministers can’t ignore serious concerns that it will have a detrimental impact on hundreds of thousands of people.”
Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, who resigned his seat in October last year when the government backed a third runway, said Labour’s hostility to a third runway was one of “so many reasons why Heathrow expansion isn’t going to happen”.