June 6, 2018 / 1:38 PM / 2 months ago

Heathrow expansion faces challenge as Labour casts doubt over support

LONDON, June 6 (Reuters) - The British government’s plan to build a new runway at London’s Heathrow Airport faces a potential new challenge as the opposition Labour party has indicated that its members may vote against it.

Senior ministers backed plans for a new runway at Heathrow on Tuesday, opening the way for a parliamentary vote within the next few weeks, following decades of delays.

A spokesman for Labour said on Wednesday that the party’s initial response was that the government’s policy did not meet its four tests on addressing noise issues, protecting air quality, supporting growth across the country and not breaching the UK’s climate change obligations.

“We are in favour of airport expansion in the south east, but it has to meet those four tests and so far what we have seen it looks like the existing proposals don’t do that,” the Labour spokesman said.

“We are sceptical on the basis of we have seen but we need to see more detail.”

Polling conducted by ComRes in May had shown that a majority of lawmakers supported the plan despite the opposition of some high-profile politicians within the ruling Conservative party, including foreign minister Boris Johnson.

Labour opposition to the Heathrow expansion plan could put it in jeopardy as Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives do not have a majority in parliament’s House of Commons and depend on support from the small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party to win votes. (Reporting by Andrew MacAskill, writing by Sarah Young)

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