GLA mem­ber hits back at air­port ‘be­trayal’ at­tack

‘Crit­ics should turn their fire on West­min­ster’ says politi­cian at ‘pro-Heathrow’ event

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

THE Labour Greater London Au­thor­ity mem­ber ac­cused of ‘be­tray­ing’ the peo­ple of Hilling­don has hit back at his crit­ics say­ing they should turn their fire on West­min­ster in­stead.

A Hilling­don coun­cil­lor at­tacked Dr Onkar Sa­hota for at­tend­ing a ‘pro-Heathrow’ event on June 29, along­side Labour peer David Blun­kett.

But Dr Sa­hota has said the de­ci­sion on whether to ex­pand the air­port is in the hands of the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment, and that he backs the jobs and employment Heathrow pro­vides.

Dr Sa­hota said: “The real be­trayal comes from the Tories in Hilling­don, who backed plans to ef­fec­tively shut down London’s ma­jor hub air­port, threat­en­ing eco­nomic dev­as­ta­tion in west London not seen since the clo­sure of the docks in east London.

“The de­ci­sion on whether to build the third run­way is squarely in the hands of the cur­rent Tory gov­ern­ment, so per­haps they should be turn­ing their fire on their friends in West­min­ster who can im­pact the de­ci­sion.”

Dr Sa­hota was pho­tographed at the event to pro­mote the Heathrow Skills Task­force, which aims to en­sure there are enough skilled staff to take up jobs cre­ated by the west London air­port’s po­ten­tial ex­pan­sion.

A de­ci­sion on Heathrow’s third run­way has been de­layed un­til Oc­to­ber, and while Hilling­don Coun­cil has op­posed the air­port’s ex­pan­sion, one west London coun­cil has signed a let­ter call­ing on gov­ern­ment to ap­prove the third run­way.

Hilling­don Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for plan­ning, g, trans­porta­tion and d re­cy­cling, Cllr Keith th Bur­rows, made the he com­ments at a full ull coun­cil meet­ing held on Thurs­day July 7 in Uxbridge.

But his com­ments have ave been crit­i­cised by pro-third run­way cam­paigngn group Back Heathrow.

Back Heathrow’s w’s campaign di­rec­tor Rob Gray said: “It’s ab­so­lutely tely dis­grace­ful that a coun­cil­lor would use e the word ‘be­trayal’ to de­scribe some­one’s at­ten­dance at an event de­signed to pro­mote skills, ap­pren­tice­ships and to al­le­vi­ate un­em­ploy­ment.

“Re­gard­less of any views Onkar Sa­hota may or may not have re­gard­ing a new run­way at Heathrow, he should be ap­plauded for his whole­hearted sup­port for much-needed ad­di­tional skills train­ing in his com­mu­nity.”

The campaign group or­gan­ised a rally in sup­port of the new run­way, one year af­ter the Air­port Com­mis­sion rec­om­mended Heathrow for ex­pan­sion.

Mr Gray added: “For Cllr Bur­rows to at­tack some­body for at­tend­ing a pro-skills event demon­strates a shame­ful dis­dain for the fu­ture prospects of thou­sands of lo­cal peo­ple who could ben­e­fit from ad­di­tional skills train­ing.”

n TASK­FORCE:TASK­FORCE (From left) Paula Stan­nett, HR Di­rec­tor Heathrow Air­port, leader of Eal­ing Coun­cil Ju­lian Bell, Viren­dra Sharma, MP for Eal­ing Southall, chair­man of Heathrow Task­force Lord David Blun­kett, Onkar Sa­hota, London As­sem­bly mem­ber for Eal­ing and Hilling­don, and Heathrow Air­port chief ex­ec­u­tive John Hol­land-Kaye; (in­set) coun­cil­lor Keith Bur­roes

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