A third runway for Heathrow has been approved after MPs voted 415-119 in favour of government plans after a heated debate in the House of Commons. As MPs voted, 12 protestors stormed into Central Lobby and chanted their opposition to the proposals.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell both voted against the plans. Labour MPs had a free vote despite the party stating the plans did not meet any of its four tests. Tory MPs were put under a three line whip to support the expansion, despite fears it will have an adverse impact on air quality.
The SNP MPs abstained from the vote, despite repeatedly stating support for the scheme. The administration at Holyrood signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Heathrow on expansion in 2016.
The government’s decision to ram through the decision with only one day of debate led to a time limit of four minutes for many MPs. Senior Tory Zac Goldsmith took to social media to accuse the government of ‘taking the piss’ with the timetabling. He also branded the decision to appoint Lord Deighton as the Chair of Heathrow as ‘crony capitalism’. Deighton was previously the Minister for Infrastructure.
Earlier in the day Boris Johnson was whisked away on ‘urgent business’ so he wouldn’t have to resign to honour his commitment to vote against expansion. He later appeared in Kabul. A page also surfaced from Theresa May’s website which said, “Theresa May is firmly against plans to build a third runway… Local people will be devastated by the Government’s decision to proceed”.
There have been doubts cast over whether the plans will actually go ahead. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has already said he will join the legal bid to halt the plans which he called ‘short-sighted’. Concerns have also been raised about the impact of the third runway on air quality and noise pollution levels in the capital.