A Keen MP and A Keen MP question Heathrow expansionFebruary 14, 2008 at 11:30 am | Posted in Adding capacity, Heathrow, Heathrow airport, Heathrow expansion, Hounslow, Keen, MP, Survey | 2 Comments
This is a cool story of husband and wife teamwork in politics—challenging the Government’s stance in favour of adding capacity at Heathrow:
Elizabeth Hopkirk, Evening Standard
A junior minister is taking on the Government over its expansion plans for Heathrow airport.
Health minister Ann Keen, a former aide to Gordon Brown, has come out against plans for a third runway.
She and her husband Alan Keen, Labour MPs for neighbouring constituencies in Hounslow, have launched a survey on Heathrow to rival the Government’s consultation.
They are concerned the Department for Transport is not listening to the views of people living near the airport.
In a move described by anti-expansion campaigners as hugely embarrassing to the Government, the couple spent thousands of pounds on a four-page advertisement wrapped around their local free newspaper, headlined “Plane mad or economic sense?” They are encouraging constituents to complete a freepost survey asking for their views.
Mrs Keen said her constituents in Brentford and Isleworth had complained the government consultation was difficult to complete. She told the Evening Standard: “It is my duty to do everything I can to ensure residents’ voices are heard.”
Her website states: “Ann opposes a third runway in principle, but as an MP must listen to the economic arguments made in its favour.”
She will send the poll results to the Department for Transport, and has asked Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly to extend the 27February consultation deadline so last month’s British Airways crash-landing can be considered.
The couple, who live under the flightpath in Brentford, have campaigned against night flights and only supported growth within existing boundaries. Mr Keen, MP for Feltham and Heston, wrote in the advert: “I believe the limit has been reached.”
The Department for Transport said people could get help with the – consultation by calling 0845 600 4170 or emailing heathrowconsultation @dft.gsi.gov.uk