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Labour may scrap Heathrow Airport expansion to tackle climate crisis – McDonnell

The shadow chancellor also sought to reassure the Jewish community over the anti-Semitism row.

John McDonnell with host Andrew Marr (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)
John McDonnell with host Andrew Marr (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

By Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

Heathrow Airport’s expansion could be scrapped under Labour plans to tackle the climate crisis by making the nation carbon-neutral by 2030.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell both signalled the controversial plans for a third runway may be blocked if the party wins the General Election.

On Sunday, Mr McDonnell told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show: “We set ourselves criteria, one of which was environmental impact, the other was also economic impact and social impact.

“On the current criteria, we’ve said very clearly, Heathrow expansion doesn’t qualify.”

Everything I said we would do we are doing in terms of the Labour Party in terms of eradicating anti-Semitism from the party John McDonnell

Pressed if Labour would cancel the extension, he said: “At the moment it does not qualify based on the criteria we set out.”

Later in the day, Mr Corbyn said: “It has to meet those tests and that is the reason why I opposed it when it last came to Parliament because, in my view, it did not meet those tests.”

Other expansions across the country including in Manchester would also be considered under the criteria.

Parliament gave the go-ahead last year for the expansion of the London airport, which published its “masterplan” in June to build a third runway by 2026.

Mr McDonnell also sought to reassure the Jewish community that Labour was trying to eradicate anti-Semitism after being shown three Jewish newspapers with highly-critical headlines.

“I’m so saddened by this. I just want to reassure them that we’re doing everything we can,” he said.

“Everything I said we would do we are doing in terms of the Labour Party in terms of eradicating anti-Semitism from the party.”

Mr McDonnell also expressed optimism over Labour’s chances in the December 12 election despite polls putting them far behind the Tories.

Asked if it feels like a winning campaign, he said: “It does actually. I think the polls are coming our way.

“I think they are beginning to move in our direction. We know how far we are behind in the polls, not as far as in 2017.”

PA

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