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Government survives Heathrow vote

29th January, 2009

The government has won a vote over plans for Heathrow’s third runway – but saw its majority cut to just 19.

After the vote Labour MP Andrew Slaughter (Ealing, Acton & Shephard’s Bush in West London) quit as Parliamentary Private Secretary to fight the plans. Ealing Southall, Virendra Sharma also quit his post.

The Tory-led motion urging ministers to “rethink” plans was beaten by 19 votes – Labour has a working majority of 63.

The Lib Dems supported the move but the ministers argue scrapping the plans would seriously damage the economy.

More than 50 Labour MPs had previously expressed concerns about the plans in other Commons motions but only 28 of them voted for the Conservative motion on Wednesday.

The MP who will probably most annoy residents is Anne Keen (Brenford & Isleworth). She had told her constituents that she was strongly opposed to Heathrow expansion. But to add insult to injury, she is a junior health minister. It is air pollution, above all, that threatened Heathrow expansion, with 1000 Londoners a year already dying from air pollution and the threat of legal action from the EU if expansion goes ahead.