Twickenham candidates take a stand against Heathrow expansion

By Cameron Eyles
November 29 2019, 12.25

Candidates standing in Twickenham have promised to defy their parties over Heathrow expansion. 

The Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates all pledged to vote against Heathrow expansion in Parliament even if that means going against their party whip. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson famously promised to ‘lie down in front of the bulldozers’ to protest against Heathrow expansion – but jetted off to Afghanistan, while foreign secretary, to avoid a crucial Commons vote.

The borough is on the flight path of Britain’s busiest airports and residents feel strongly that a third runway would only add to the pollution the airport already causes. 

Conservative candidate Isobel Grant said: “I give you my commitment as your MP that I will vote against Heathrow expansion.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Munira Wilson said: “We are absolutely 100% opposed to Heathrow expansion.”

In responding to whether he would defy the whip Labour candidate Ranjeev Walia said: “I would vote against the party, I feel that strongly about it.”

The candidates all took this stand at the Twickenham hustings held at Radnor House School.

The proposed plans for a third Heathrow runway has been a great source of controversy with former London mayoral candidate Zack Goldsmith briefly resigning from the Conservative party over it – triggering a by-election he lost.

Brexit and the NHS were also heavily discussed at the hustings as each candidate stuck to their party line about what they plan to do about these issues. 

The seat is currently held by the Liberal Democrats although Vince Cable, who has represented the area for 20 of the last 22 years, is standing down in this election. 

Brexit Party candidate Stuart Wells was invited to the debate but decided not to attend. 

Twickenham had the highest turnout of any constituency in the country during the 2017 election with 79.5% of voters going to the polls.

Organiser and Radnor House head of sixth form John MacLean described the debate as having a real mix of local focus and national discussion. 

The latest YouGov poll predicts the Liberal Democrats will retain Twickenham but the election is expected to be very close. 

Cable won with a majority of 9,000 in 2017 but lost the seat to the Conservatives in 2015.

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