Hackney Green Party hold Dalston demo over MP Meg Hillier’s ‘recklessness’ on Heathrow third runway vote
PUBLISHED: 16:44 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:23 27 July 2018
Hackney Green Party
Campaigners from Hackney Green Party have accused MP Meg Hillier of “recklessness”, by voting to back a controversial third runway at Heathrow.
Alex Armitage, who stood in Dalston in May’s local elections, organised a protest in Dalston Squre over Meg’s decision to vote for airport expansion.
The vote - by 415 to 119 – was the main legislative hurdle paving the way for the £14bn construction project.
Following a ‘free vote’ allowed by Jeremy Corbyn, some 116 Labour MPs voted for the plans, with 95 against – including Hackney’s other MP Diane Abbott. Just eight Tories voted against them.
The government has pledged the airport will be built at no cost to the taxpayer and will create 100,000 jobs.
The vote was welcomed by business group the CBI as “a truly historic decision that will open the doors to a new era in the UK’s global trading relationships”.
But environmental campaigners are mounting a legal challenge.
Brandishing placards with slogans like “we need clean air to survive”, and “it’s getting hot”, Dr Armitage, a paediatric registrar, said: “We are demonstrating because we’re angry that Meg Hillier voted to support the expansion.
“It’s a sign that Labour does not take our responsibility towards the environment seriously and completely disregards the biggest threat that is facing us.
“This is disastrous news for the fight against climate breakdown, it’s also setting our economy on the wrong track if we’re going to decarbonise.”
Dr Armitage said his party is keen to get the issue of climate breakdown back up the political agenda.
“We have seen several wildfires in London this summer, which is likely to be the hottest on record,” he said. “This is just the start- we are likely to see many more alarming changes like this as our planet gets hotter.”
“We know that climate breakdown will wreak havoc on our planet. But we’re not stupid, we know also that many of these disasters can be averted if we stop polluting our skies by burning fossil fuels.
To do this we need real leadership from our politicians - but it seems that vested interests are preventing them from taking action.
Ms Hillier told the Gazeztte she voted for “jobs and growth”.
“It’s been long-standing Labour policy to support airport expansion to make London and Britain competitive internationally,” she said. “Brexit makes this even more important. The Airports Commission considered all options and recommended Heathrow.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be carried out and resolved before any Heathrow expansion can go ahead including important environmental issues.
“The vote was to get started so all aspects could be explored - almost 10 years after a Labour Government first proposed it.”