Keens vote in favour of third runway at Heathrow

Your Local Guardian: Bowed to pressure?: MP Ann Keen voted in favour of third runway - despite publicly being against the scheme Bowed to pressure?: MP Ann Keen voted in favour of third runway - despite publicly being against the scheme

Hounslow MPs Ann and Alan Keen have been accused of “betraying” their constituents by voting in favour of a third runway at Heathrow - revealing a dramatic shift in their stance on expansion.

Ann Keen, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, and her husband Alan, MP for Feltham and Heston, have previously insisted they had been opposed to Heathrow expansion for many years, but both appeared to bow to Government pressure during a House of Commons debate yesterday.

Campaign groups slammed the couple over their decision.

Nic Ferriday, of West London Friends of the Earth, described their actions as “contemptible,” adding: “Ann Keen's performance was particularly irksome. Having come out publicly and strongly against Heathrow, she has now betrayed her constituents and the people of west London.

“As a health minister, her indifference to more air pollution, which already kills a thousand Londoners a year, is reprehensible."

The debate and vote, which was not binding, was called by the Conservatives and saw the biggest rebellion on an opposition motion since Labour came to power in 1997. The Government won by 19 votes.

“Ann Keen's performance was particularly irksome. Having come out publicly and strongly against Heathrow, she has now betrayed her constituents and the people of west London."

Nic Ferriday, of West London Friends of the Earth

Health Minister Mrs Keen did not speak in the debate, but her husband - who was one of 57 MPs who signed an Early Day Motion last year against a third runway - told the House of Commons he would vote against the Conservatives’ motion, despite his opposition to expansion, because of their “party politicking”.

He said the noise from aircraft was “appalling” for his constituents, but the Government’s decision not to introduce mixed mode - which would have seen an end to runway alternation - made a “huge difference”.

He said: “The barring of mixed mode is the best thing that could have been done. BAA wanted to introduce mixed mode immediately.”

Mr Keen, who has previously described himself as a “friend” of the aviation industry, added that a third runway would “hardly affect my constituents at all.”

Susan Kramer, MP for Richmond Park and anti-expansion campaigner, said: "I feel I ought to remind (Alan Keen) that while it is important to welcome the decision to keep runway alternation, we all know that promises have been made in the past and broken over and over again.

“We would be fools not to be constantly vigilant to ensure that this promise is kept."

Barbara Reid, lead member for aviation at Hounslow Council, said the Keens were “completely ignoring their constituents and letting them down.”

She said: “They have sided with the Government rather than siding with their constituents...90 per cent of people in every survey we have done do not support the third runway.

“For Alan Keen to say that the third runway will not affect his constituents so much, I think it once again makes you realise he is not living in the same world.

“The third runway would have a devastating affect on both Brentford and Isleworth and parts of Feltham and Heston, with thousands of people coming under the new flight path.

“It would be disatrous for the London borough of Hounslow.”

Comments (5)

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11:15am Fri 30 Jan 09

Phillip Taylor says...

I hope this betrayal by the Keens is noted by the electorate at the General Election and they both lose their seats to the Conservative candidates who will halt Heathrow expansion.

Phillip Taylor
Richmond Green Chambers
I hope this betrayal by the Keens is noted by the electorate at the General Election and they both lose their seats to the Conservative candidates who will halt Heathrow expansion. Phillip Taylor Richmond Green Chambers Phillip Taylor
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11:51am Fri 30 Jan 09

Harry_ says...

Aren't this pair the most sickening pair of chancers? Self Serving, Snouts in the trough hypocrites doesn't even come close.

By all means vote them out at the next election but don't overlook the Lib Dems. They had nearly a 10% swing to their candidate in 2005
Aren't this pair the most sickening pair of chancers? Self Serving, Snouts in the trough hypocrites doesn't even come close. By all means vote them out at the next election but don't overlook the Lib Dems. They had nearly a 10% swing to their candidate in 2005 Harry_
  • Score: 0

1:33pm Fri 30 Jan 09

Radioactive Rissole says...

ANN KEEN FAN-CLUB ALERT !

Behold, your wonderful heroine is under attack - send gushing letters of support en masse to the local press immediately.
ANN KEEN FAN-CLUB ALERT ! Behold, your wonderful heroine is under attack - send gushing letters of support en masse to the local press immediately. Radioactive Rissole
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11:55pm Fri 30 Jan 09

MacGregor says...

Yes, vote out the Keens at the next General Election – they don’t deserve to be re-elected.

I would suggest – if people really want to get rid of a Labour government – that they vote Conservative because voting Liberal has often aided the Labour Party to form a majority.
Yes, vote out the Keens at the next General Election – they don’t deserve to be re-elected. I would suggest – if people really want to get rid of a Labour government – that they vote Conservative because voting Liberal has often aided the Labour Party to form a majority. MacGregor
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7:10pm Sun 1 Feb 09

Harry_ says...

I think the better alternative would be to go for Lib Dem to try and swing a coalition government. Absolute majorities have been shown over the last 20-30 years to result in poor policies, from the poll tax to Iraq. Why not try the coalition approach where governments have to work to get a solution that is acceptable to all?
I think the better alternative would be to go for Lib Dem to try and swing a coalition government. Absolute majorities have been shown over the last 20-30 years to result in poor policies, from the poll tax to Iraq. Why not try the coalition approach where governments have to work to get a solution that is acceptable to all? Harry_
  • Score: 0
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