Ealing and Northfield

Mahfouz at his worst

Labour’s Transport and Environment spokesman, Bassam Mahfouz, is a cheerful, pleasant chap but he does have a tendency to be political in a weird, denying-the-facts sort of a way.

In recent months the Heathrow 3rd runway issue has come back into play. At the start of September the government set up the Davies Review to look at airport capacity. Ealing and Acton MP, Angie Bray used her Gazette column last month to restate her opposition to a 3rd runway. Local Conservatives were also keen to underline their opposition to a 3rd runway in the light of the Davies Review so tabled the following simple motion at tonight’s council meeting.

No to Heathrow Expansion

This Council reaffirms its opposition to a third runway at Heathrow Airport and pledges to campaign vigorously against any proposals contrary to this position.

Nice and simple. Everyone can agree and work together. No. Cllr Mahfouz had different ideas. He put in a motion that read as follows:

No to Heathrow Expansion

This council notes that in their election manifesto in 2010 the Conservatives said: “Our goal is to make Heathrow airport better, not bigger. We will stop the third runway and instead link Heathrow directly to our high speed rail network, providing an alternative to thousands of flights. In addition, we will block plans for second runways at Stansted and Gatwick.”

The council notes that in their election manifesto in 2010 the Liberal Democrats said: “We will cancel plans for a third runway at Heathrow and other airport expansion in the South East”

The council notes that after the election of Ed Milliband as Labour leader Labour announced that they would not support expansion at Heathrow airport.

The council notes that a number of Conservative politicians have now backed calls for expansion at Heathrow.

The council is dismayed that the Chancellor George Osbourne has announced another U-turn for the Tory-led Government with decision to set up a review to examine expansion of airports in the South East.

The council is particularly disappointed that the Chancellor refused to rule out expansion at Heathrow.

Council resolves to renew its opposition to a third runway at Heathrow airport.

Council asks the portfolio holder for Transport and Environment to write to the relevant ministers and shadow ministers from all parties to demand the promises they have made to the electorate.

I think he meant “to demand that they keep the promises they have made to the Electorate” at the end there.

Ridiculously he quotes Tory and LibDem manifestos opposing the 3rd runway but omits to mention that the Labour manifesto supported it. He accuses George Osborne of U-turning when we know that Alistair Darling is in favour of a 3rd runway. This is complicated. Some senior national policiticans of both parties are in favour of getting on with the 3rd runway on macro-economic grounds. London Mayor Boris Johnson is not and neither typically are local MPs or councillors. Mahfouz just isn’t very honest or grown up is he?

This kind of thing really winds people up. Instead of just getting all the councillors to agree to something simple Mahfouz has tried to turn this into a petty fight.

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