Heathrow a big issue for Hayes
Candidates get to grips with hot topics as general election approaches
HAYES and Harlington candidates pitched for votes at a hustings – with Heathrow, housing and immigration as hot topics.
Labour candidate John McDonnell, addressing the crowds St Anselm’s Church, in Hayes, on Tuesday last week, claimed a third runway at Heathrow – if allowed to go ahead – would cost lives.
He said: “A minimum of eight people per year die in this area as a result of air pollution. If a third runway goes ahead, we will have a large number of people choking to death.”
His UKIP opponent Cliff Dixon, said his party was the only one with a manifesto commitment against expansion.
He added: “I’ve got a lot of respect for John McDonnell for the way he’s fought for the runway, but the problem is, I don’t trust his party.”
Mr Dixon said proHeathrow expansion supporters had not thought about the “housing, infrastructure, pollution and devastation to the villages which are centuries old”.
The Green Party’s Alick Munro said he wanted less flights immediately, and claimed: “I see people with runny noses, itchy eyes, and coughs several times a day near Heathrow.”
Conservative Pearl Lewis said decisions on Heathrow expansion should be informed by the facts not the airport’s propaganda.
She said: “We’ve all seen how they’ve plastered Westminster tube station with all their posters and that’s no coincidence they’ve chosen that tube station.
“It’s the biggest threat to our community and I would fight tooth and nail to oppose it.”
The seat remained empty for Liberal Democrat candidate Satnam Khalsa who did not attend.
Housing was the most popular issue arising from submissions from the audience.
Labour and the Greens were in agreement of increasing average tenancy lengths but the Conservative candidate disagreed.
Ms Lewis said: “Introducing rent caps will mean landlords won’t want to invest in property so I can’t see how that will help.”
On immigration UKIP’s Mr Dixon said an increasing population was driving house prices up locally. “It’s housing associations from central London moving people to Hillingdon, displacing people that were here already.”
He later made a comment on murdered schoolgirl Alice Gross that silenced the room, but praised the immigrants of the 1970s.
Mr McDonnell raised the spirits saying: “We’re a multicultural migrant community.
“We live in harmony and peace and I’m so proud. Every community that has come to Hayes has made a contribution and put something back into the community.”
The debate was organised by Hillingdon Interfaith network.
Polling stations open tomorrow (Thursday) from 7am until 10pm.