GLA member hits back at airport ‘betrayal’ attack
‘Critics should turn their fire on Westminster’ says politician at ‘pro-Heathrow’ event
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