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UK Politics

Benn taunted over Heathrow expansion

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn came under pressure today ahead of the Government's expected approval of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Tory Greg Hands, whose Hammersmith and Fulham constituency is close to Heathrow, asked during Commons question time whether Mr Benn had been defending the people of west London at the Cabinet table or whether his reputation for being quietly effective had "extended to silence".

Mr Benn, who is rumoured to have been among a number of Cabinet members opposed to further expansion at Heathrow, told MPs they would have to wait until Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon's statement on the issue later today but said that it was his responsibility to ensure air quality and noise targets were met.

But shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth said it was "no good" hiding behind a later statement and accused Mr Benn of having "little clout".