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Galloway bid to get Heathrow Commons vote is floored’

PUBLISHED: 20:29 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:58 05 October 2010

RESPECT’s fiery East London MP George Galloway almost forced a vote in Parliament today on the controversial expansion plans for London’s Heathrow Airport amid unprecedented scenes in the Commons. But the Government avoided a vote by refusing to provide tellers for their side, he said.

By Mike Brooke

RESPECT’s fiery East London MP George Galloway almost pulled off a vote in Parliament today on the controversial expansion plans for London’s Heathrow Airport—amid unprecedented scenes.

But the Government avoided a Commons vote by refusing to provide tellers for their side, he said.

The outspoken Bethnal Green & Bow MP seized the chance for a vote when fellow Left Wing MP John McDonnell was ejected after seizing the Speaker’s mace in a protest at the Government refusing a proper vote on the Heathrow issue.

The Deputy Commons Speaker then named’ McDonnell, which under Parliamentary procedures is a vote’ for the MP to be removed.

“No one has ever said no’ in such a procedural vote,” Galloway said afterwards. “It’s been a formality.

“But I repeatedly shouted no’—and the chair had to call a formal division.

“In effect, that would have been a recorded vote on the Heathrow expansion itself, which is going to cause upheaval and pollution in McDonnell’s constituency in West London.”

The Government whips were taken by surprise, Galloway added, and decided to avoid a division by refusing to put counters in on their side.

McDonnell’s protest also brought support from Britain’s biggest rail union, the RMT, which condemned the MP’s suspension after he protested at the “disgraceful” denial of a vote on building a third runway.

Union general secretary Bob Crow said tonight: “McDonnell should be congratulated for his stand for democracy and the right of MPs to represent the people who elect them.”

He slammed “the Government’s shame” not to submit Heathrow’s expansion to a vote.


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