North West London


which gave him what he wanted? Or had he flinched from rebellion and accepted a fig leaf in place of the guarantees he really sought? Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, hoped that MPs would still vote for the Grieve amendment: “Standing back, that looks like common sense. It is unthinkable that any prime minister would seek to force through a course of action that would

have significant consequences for many years which the majority in [the House of Commons] did not approve of… the idea that that is how we would achieve an orderly Brexit is for the birds.” In the end, six Conservatives voted for the Grieve amendment, while four Labour MPs defied their party whip and voted with the government. And later that evening, peers accepted the bill – which allowed it to become law.

Parliament approves a third runway at Heathrow airport

Fifty years after the Wilson government set up the Roskill Commission to examine options for London airport expansion, MPs backed a planning document that endorsed a third runway for Heathrow with a resounding majority: 415 votes to 119. The decision to endorse a national policy statement (NPS) for airports, which supported a third runway, followed an intense 90-minute debate. The result was not really in doubt – Conservative MPs were on a three- line whip, which meant that they were ordered to back the NPS, while Labour MPs, reflecting the considerable differences of view in their party, were given a free vote. Transport secretary Chris Grayling laid out his case: “All five of London’s main airports will be full by the mid-2030s, and Heathrow is full today. We are seeing business leave the uK and go to airports like Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris, which have made additional capacity provision... We are losing those connections to other countries, and we are losing the investment that goes around those connections.” He promised that there would be tough environmental conditions: the runway would not be allowed to open if it

Heathrow airport: MPs vote in favour of expansion

failed to meet air quality standards. There would be a generous £2.6 billion compensation package for people displaced by the new runway, plus a noise insulation programme for homes and schools. But there was considerable resistance. Labour’s shadow transport secretary, “generate many winners, not least the shareholders of Heathrow Airport Ltd, but it risks making losers of many, including the communities in which thousands of people will lose hundreds of homes.” He was interrupted by a Labour colleague, John Spellar, who Andy McDonald, warned that the Heathrow expansion would


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