Stansted row steps up after radio show

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole today came under attack from two opponents hoping to snatch the seat at the next election after going on national radio to defend the expansion of Stansted Airport.

IPSWICH MP Chris Mole today came under attack from two opponents hoping to snatch the seat at the next election after going on national radio to defend the expansion of Stansted Airport.

Mr Mole told listeners to Radio Four's Today programme that the expansion of the Essex airport was necessary for business expansion in the area.

Debating with author Will Self, who joined a ramble in Hatfield Forest for the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign, Mr Mole said: “Stansted is not just an airport for London, it is a vital economic asset for the east of England.”

He said businesses in the region needed good international and, increasingly, intercontinental links - which would follow if the airport was able to expand.


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He also said that the expansion of the airport was vital for deprived areas of the region like Luton, Harlow and Haverhill.

However, his views were quickly attacked by Conservative Ben Gummer, who hopes to win Ipswich at the next general election.

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He said: “Mr Mole came on radio to put forward the government's view about the expansion of the airport event though it causing problems for his constituents in Ipswich.

“We have seen an increasing number of planes flying over the town and the peace of the countryside is being eroded.”

Mr Gummer said he was not against cheap flights as such, but there had to be a realistic tax regime to ensure the damage flights caused to the environment was reflected in them.

“I agree with Mr Mole that we need more intercontinental flights, but we don't need a huge expansion in flights for routes where there is a better alternative like rail,” he said.

Liberal Democrat Andrew Cann, who also hopes to fight Ipswich in the next general election, said: “There is growing understanding about the danger to the environment about increased flying and there have to be alternatives to airport expansion.”

N Is Chris Mole right to press for the expansion of Stansted? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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