Monday, 15 June 2009

A straight answer

The Sunday Times story yesterday Ministers 'misled' MPs over Heathrow resulted from documents I obtained under the freedom of information act. The documents do indeed show that a minister, Ian Putney, misled tory MP Justine Greening when he claimed that neither ministers nor officials had met Heathrow owner BAA to talk about the expansion of the airport. But the government's response to the revelation raises the question, if you don't accept that this is misleading, why would anyone believe you in future?

Pearson told Greening in a written parliamentary answer:
Ministers and officials within the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform have not held meetings specifically on Heathrow expansion. However, they have held a number of meetings with business organisations where Heathrow was discussed as part of a broader conversation.
But a letter from (Lord) Peter Mandelson revealed that (Baroness) Shriti Vadera of his department was met BAA chief executive Colin Matthews "to discuss the issue of new runway capacity". So the only thing that stops Pearson's answer being an outright lie is the fact that the expansion of Stansted was also discussed.

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