Government to push for rapid Heathrow runway approval

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Car Rental News - 10/11/2008


A full-scale debate is set for Tuesday to signal the government’s intention to proceed on the airport’s expansion.

Geoff Hoon, the secretary for transport, along with many government ministers, will face down the rebels in their party after 38 backbenchers signed a Commons motion in opposition to the Heathrow expansion plan.

Labour leaders have also said that David Cameron has allowed the Conservative party to get on the "wrong side of the argument," by making its opposition to the plan official. The defeat of the plan would decrease the number of flights at Heathrow by 66,000 annually. The government will use the debate on Tuesday in an attempt to "smoke out" divisions on the Tory side.

Rather than building a third runway, the Conservatives have said they would support a £20 billion TGV-style high-speed rail line that would connect London with Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

Theresa Villiers, the shadow secretary for transport, announced the Conservative policy at the party’s recent conference in Birmingham, saying: "This is a seriously green decision."

There is major discomfort among senior party members, however, about the Conservative stance. One shadow minister said: "We are meant to be the party of business for goodness' sake."

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