The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, will give evidence in the trial of 13 climate change activists who are alleged to have occupied a Heathrow runway in July in protest at the airport’s expansion.
The Labour MP, whose Hayes and Harlington constituency includes the UK’s largest airport, has been a prominent opponent of the airport’s third runway and has strongly backed local residents who are resisting the move.
He is expected to argue that the demonstration was justified because the aviation lobby had threatened to wield too great an influence over the decision, and that local people have been ignored in consultations on the airport’s future.
At a rally in October, McDonnell said: “In my constituency, at the moment, people are literally dying. They’re dying because the air has already been poisoned by the aviation industry. They’ve promised us after every inquiry, no further expansion. They are liars. They have consistently lied to us. They now tell us if they get a third runway, there’ll be no increase in noise and no increase in pollution. They’re liars.”