MPs Back Heathrow Expansion – Again

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Controversial plans to build a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport have won majority support from MPs after a four-hour debate in Parliament.

The government won a crucial vote in the House of Commons by 415 to 119.  Conservative MPs were ordered to support the government while the Labour Party, which is officially opposed to expansion, allowed its MPs a free vote.

Scottish National Party MPs abstained.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson – the most famous opponent of Heathrow’s expansion – missed the vote because he was overseas.

The government has stated the expansion will be at no cost to the tax payer; benefit the whole country and create 100,000 jobs.  However, legal challenges to the move, especially on environmental grounds, appear certain to follow.

This is the second time Parliament has approved a third runway for Heathrow. Gordon Brown’s administration previously gave the green light for expansion – albeit in a slightly different location – in 2009, but that decision was overturned by the incoming coalition government at the 2010 General Election.