Yesterday, MP’s supported plans to build a third runway at Heathrow airport. It was a clear victory for the Conservative government, as the result was 415 votes to 119; a majority of 296. Although it was expected to pass through the House of Commons, there was controversy regarding the foreign secretary’s absence to the vote, as well as the 9 Conservative MP’s who represent London constituencies voting against the proposal. Nonetheless, it is absolutely vital that a third runway is built, as it will help boost the UK’s trade and global status.
Boris Johnson, the UK’s foreign secretary and a prominent Brexiteer, missed the vote because he was on a visit to Afghanistan to meet with national leaders and discuss the region’s progress. However, this was met with outrage and confusion as he once said that he would “lay in front of the bulldozers of Heathrow” if the plans for a third runway were approved. Labour’s MP’s had a “free vote” despite the shadow cabinet’s official position being against the expansion, and the SNP understandably abstained as it is none of their business!
The approval has been met with a mixture of reactions from business and campaign groups. The CBI said it was a “truly historic decision that will open the doors to a new era in the UK’s global trading relationships”. This is absolutely right, a third runway will allow businesses and multiple sectors of the economy to rapidly expand and increase. Heathrow airport currently has 83 million users per year, but with a third runway experts have predicted this will increase to 130 million per year.
However, environmentalists have reacted negatively to the vote. Friends of the Earth said that “MP’s who backed this climate-wrecking new runway will be harshly judged by history”. Shadow Chancellor, John Mcdonnell, was among the 119 MP’s who voted against the runway plans. There were also Conservative MP’s, such as Greg Hands who represents Chelsea and Fulham, who voted against the Heathrow proposals.
The Conservative government said the airport will be built with no cost to the taxpayer, and that it would create 100,000 jobs. Chris Grayling, Secretary of State of Transport, said that it was “time for action” regarding Heathrow. Mr Grayling has been under huge pressure because of the train disasters that are still taking place across the country, so the Heathrow proposals being approved by parliament will certainly be a relief.
Brexit is a fantastic chance for the UK to reach out and reconnect with countries from the Commonwealth, as well as the many others outside of Europe. The Trade secretary, Liam Fox, has been working hard to ensure that as soon as we leave the EU in March 2019, we will be able to become a “global Britain”. Expanding Heathrow is nothing but a positive step for Britain’s future!