Tag Archives: heathrow expansion

Liberal Democrats act to stop airport expansions

Embed from Getty Images

The photo above was widely used in the media. It features two of our MPs, Munira Wilson and Sarah Olney, plus our London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, celebrating Royal Courts of Justice in London last Thursday, after a decision by the Court of Appeal on legal challenges to the UK government’s approval of plans to expand capacity at Heathrow airport.

The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of green campaigners who oppose a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport, Europe’s busiest. The court said the UK government that had given the Heathrow extension the green light in 2018 had failed to take into account the Paris Agreement to limit climate warming.

A Lib Dem press release on that day said:

This ruling is a victory for common sense. At a time when we should be promoting greener transport, we cannot allow the expansion of the country’s single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

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18 June 2019 – today’s press releases

Cable: Looks like Boris will lie down and let Heathrow expansion happen

Responding to the publication of Heathrow’s plan for a third runway which will include diverting rivers, moving roads and rerouting the M25 through a tunnel under the new runway, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Twickenham MP Vince Cable said:

Expanding Heathrow is the wrong decision for the country and for South West London, where air pollution, air traffic noise, and congestion are already a blight. Heathrow’s plan all but confirms this.

The economics of Heathrow expansion also look questionable at best while it will do nothing for regional economies. Above

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Sarah Olney holds first Westminster Hall debate on Heathrow expansion

There’s a lot of firsts when you are a new MP. Your first Early Day Motion (like a House of Commons petition), your first speech, your first question, and your first Westminster Hall debate. These debates, held outside the main chamber, concentrate on one subject and allow an MP to raise an issue directly with the Minister.

It will be of no surprise that Sarah’s first Westminster Hall debate was on the subject of Heathrow expansion and the effects in terms of road congestion and pollution of a bigger airport.

You can read the full debate – including the Deputy Speaker’s rebukes to both Sarah and a colleague for breaking the rules and a fairly patronising response from the Minister – here. Below is Sarah’s speech in full.

And she shouldn’t worry about a minor rebuke from the Speaker. Others have done worse and survived. Willie Rennie forgot to turn his phone off before one debate in 2007 and got a right telling off when one of his staff (not me) rang him during a Westminster Hall debate.

This is what Sarah said yesterday:

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++Lib Dems select Sarah Olney to be our candidate at the Richmond Park by-election



Sarah Olney has been selected to contest the Richmond Park and North Kingston December 1st by-election for the Liberal Democrats.

An opinion poll has shown it is a two-horse race between local woman Sarah and Zac Goldsmith, the out-going Conservative Brexit MP whose resignation triggered the by-election. Sarah, an accountant and married mother of two, was selected at a meeting of the local party in Richmond today.

Sarah Olney said:

This by-election is a chance for people to have their say on Brexit, the NHS and Heathrow. Only a vote for the Liberal Democrats will make a stand against Heathrow and Brexit, not to mention the scandalous underfunding of the NHS.

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Heathrow: Theresa May kicks the can down the road

Commenting on the news that MPs will not get a vote on Heathrow expansion until next year, Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson Jenny Randerson said:

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Farron: Heathrow free vote would be farcical

Dearie me. Twice in a week, the government has been caught on the hop a top secret documents have been photographed and have appeared in the press. Unless, of course, it was planned that way. You never know, these days. Perhaps people think The Thick of It was a documentary or something. First it was grammar schools and now it’s the possibility of a free vote on Heathrow expansion  as Channel 4 news revealed:

In the second security breach of its kind in a week, a London Underground passenger filmed a very senior Cabinet Office civil servant holding a paper that discussed “potential waiving of collective responsibility” ahead of “the forthcoming decision around airport capacity”.

The document discusses the possibility of “allowing Ministers to speak against the government’s position in the House” as they did in the EU referendum campaign.

If the vote goes ahead it could end decades of bitter argument over the best way to increase capacity in southeast England.

Tim Farron was unimpressed at this development. He said:

The suggestion that there might be a free vote on Heathrow is farcical – this is a huge decision and the Conservative government has to make a collective decision and take full responsibility.   If people disagree they can resign.

Liberal Democrats are the only party consistently opposed to a third runway at Heathrow and we will fight any plans to allow it to be built.

Two questions arise. The first, of course, is how Zac Goldsmith feels about all of this. He has long opposed a third runway and threatened to resign as MP and cause a by-election if the Tories gave the third runway the go-ahead. He said he regrets this pledge but will honour it.

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