Wednesday, June 27, 2018

India 'boost' to Heathrow expansion

London: The two Indian origin Labour MPs with constituencies closest to Heathrow - Virendra Sharma in Ealing Southall and Seema Malhotra in Feltham and Heston - were among those who supported the government when the long delayed plan to build a third runway at Britain premier airport was approved by 415 votes to 119, a majority of 296.

An expanded Heathrow would be good for India, Sharma argued.

He said: "Thousands of young people in my constituency will have access to high quality jobs and rigorous apprenticeships to qualify them for the jobs.

"An expanded Heathrow is not just an airport for West London, it is a nationwide and worldwide hub, with more flights in and out of Heathrow we can expect more direct flights to India and other increasingly important UK trade partners. The government is investing in a global Britain."

The plans will create 114,000 extra jobs in the area around the airport by 2030, with an extra 16 million long-haul seats by 2040, according to officials.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said support for the new runway would set a "Lear path to our future as a global nation in the post-Brexit world. This is a really important moment in the history of this House and the history of this country."

But never have Britain's political classes been so bitterly divided, not just on Brexit, but also on crucial issues such as the expansion of Heathrow, which will be just about the biggest infrastructural project the country will witness in the next 20 years or so.

An hour before MPs voted, police locked down the Central Lobby, adjacent to the Commons, after 12 chanting protesters sprawled across the floor.

Eight Conservative MPs rebelled to vote against Heathrow expansion while 286 Tories supported the third runway. The eight included the former Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers, as well as Greg Hands, who quit as a trade minister ahead of the vote so he could oppose the plans which he dubbed "fundamentally flawed".
27/06/17 Amit Roy/Telegraph

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