Anti-Heathrow protesters stage hunger strike against Heathrow 3rd runway plans, asking people to lobby their MPs to vote against it
On Saturday 9th, campaigners from the Vote NO Heathrow campaign started a hunger strike, to draw attention to the huge risk that MPs might vote in favour of a 3rd Heathrow runway. The vote is likely in the next two weeks. Over 30 campaigners gathered outside the London HQ of the Labour Party in Victoria Street, for the start of the hunger strike by 5 of them. They intend to continue not to eat for as long as their health permits, and if possible until the vote in Parliament. Earlier in the week, 8 campaigners were arrested outside the building for using chalk spray on the pavement and the glass windows, to highlight their message. The vote of the Labour party is crucial, and it is hoped that MPs will appreciate that the runway fails the 4 tests Labour has set for it, and impose a 3-line whip. The Tories may impose a 3-line whip in favour of the runway. The Vote NO Heathrow campaign wants as many people as possible to write to their MP – of whichever party – to ask them to vote against the runway. There are many important arguments, why the runway should be opposed (more details below) but these could be summarised as economic problems, UK region problems, noise, air pollution and increased carbon emissions.
A three-line whip is the strongest indication a party can give to its MPs on how to vote in Parliament. If a Labour MP “defies” the three-line whip there can be consequences such as being removed from posts. The Conservative government is expected to impose a three-line whip in favour of the airport’s expansion, which may cause problems for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson .
The Vote No Heathrow campaign says:
The Heathrow expansion will be a disaster. It has failed all of Labour’s impacts tests on climate change and air and noise pollution. The party must uphold its values of ‘social and economic equality’ by firmly voting against the expansion. More than 30 campaigners will be outside the Labour HQ on Saturday and we would love you to join us in our fast, either in person or in solidarity.
Information for people on the hunger strike at https://goo.gl/forms/SLBJiSkxTv7fxvav2
The Vote No Heathrow campaign are calling on everyone to write and speak to their local MP and urge them to vote against the expansion. Even with strong signals from party leaders, many MPs are considering rebelling on the issue based on their constituents views. We must make sure your voice in his heard in this debate.
There is some information at the bottom of this webpage, with reasons why MPs should vote against the runway, to help people with their letter or email to their MP.
Write to your MP at https://www.writetothem.com/
Follow the campaign on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/votenoheathro/
and Twitter https://twitter.com/VoteNoHeathrow
Anti-Heathrow protesters stage dramatic hunger strike against third runway outside Labour Party office
Many have pledged to go on with the strike until their demands are met
The desperate protesters are asking for the party to instruct its MPs to vote against the expansion of the airport when the Commons gets the final say in the coming weeks.
At least 5 of the protesters hope to continue their hunger strike and civil disobedience protest indefinitely, until the Labour party impose a three-line whip against expansion.
The protesters gathered outside the Victoria Street headquarters of the Labour party to make their demands on Saturday (June 9).
Some of the hunger strikers were wearing T-shirts reading “Love Labour: Hate Heathrow”, and placards reading “Vote No Heathrow” and “Hunger Strike”.
The “civil disobedience” has come after the government’s long-awaited National Policy Statement on Airports was published on Tuesday (June 5), and the cabinet voted to go ahead with the construction of a third runway , north-west of Heathrow’s current airfield.
The protesters had also been at the Labour office a day before the announcement, and some were even arrested as police descended on the offices.
Robin, a 26-year-old Londoner who is on the hunger strike, said: “We are taking this drastic action because this month there is a ‘make or break’ vote on Heathrow in Parliament.
“Everyone needs to tell their MP to vote against this disastrous project. The new runway will accelerate global warming as climate breakdown gets catastrophic and bulldoze hundreds of homes during a UK housing crisis.”
The runway would stretch over the M25, but would still require several homes to be destroyed and is likely to cause an increase in noise to some residents currently not affected by aircraft noise, opponents say.
The protesters are concerned about the likely impact of expansion to air pollution in London, as well as the need for enhanced infrastructure so additional traffic does not impact their ability to get about the city.
The protesters also sat outside the Unite union buildings; TUC, Community and BALPA have all expressed support for the 3rd runway, hoping there will be jobs.
A three-line whip is the strongest indication a party can give to its MPs on how to vote in Parliament. If a Labour MP “defies” the three-line whip there can be consequences such as being removed from posts.
The Conservative government is expected to impose a three-line whip in favour of the airport’s expansion, which may cause problems for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson .
As a vocal opponent of the third runway, he could face having to resign his senior cabinet post over the issue, as convention dictates any cabinet minister must resign before voting against the government on a three-line whip.
Alex Thompson, a spokesperson for Vote No Heathrow, said: “A new runway will accelerate catastrophic climate breakdown killing millions around the world.
“Those who stand to gain from the new runway are limited to a wealthy minority of frequent flyers; the rest will suffer a devastated climate, bulldozed local homes and even more toxic air. All progressive MPs must oppose expansion of Heathrow.
“We are calling on MPs and influential unions like Unite to look at the bigger picture: climate breakdown is being driven by wealthy people, who fly, and the impacts are hitting poorer people first and worst, who do not fly.
“We want a stable planet with stable work, not a broken planet with insecure work; that starts with opposing Heathrow expansion.”