Apparently he voted FOR the third runway because he was trying to vote AGAINST it. Got that? The reason he made that mistake? Well, it was all the Tories fault. In his own words:
I was expecting two votes and instead of voting for an Opposition motion on the first vote I was going to vote against a Government motion for a third runway on the second vote. But the Opposition decided not to call the second vote.
So that’s all right then. He’s only been in Parliament since 1997, and it’s not as if the issue was getting major news coverage or anything – so it’s all perfectly understandable.
Yes, we all make mistakes, and, to be honest, I am sure that plenty of votes in the Commons are cast the wrong way. But when it’s on one of the biggest issues facing his constituency (and he doesn’t live too far from me, so know he suffers from Heathrow noise too) you would rather hope your representative in Parliament would do his job and take the time to check especially when he’s defending a wafer thin majority.
Either way you look at it, he’s either not representing his constituents, or he’s not up to his job. He needs to go.
* UPDATE Martin Linton’s website seems to have lost the page explaining his vote. Fortunately ConservativeHome had a copy which I’ve pasted below. It is an interesting read, but I just cannot understand how someone with over 10 years experience of Parliament, and who has worked so hard to fight the 3rd runway which (after the recession, surely the biggest issue facing his constituents) can get this utterly wrong.
This is a mix-up for which I am entirely responsible. I was expecting two votes and instead of voting for an Opposition motion on the first vote I was going to vote against a Government motion for a third runway on the second vote. But the Opposition decided not to call the second vote.
I now wish I had taken my opportunity of voting against the runway on the first vote and I feel not a little embarrassed at the confusion this has caused, but I can only say that I remain against a third runway and I shall not miss an opportunity to vote against if one comes up.
I lobbied the Aviation Minister and the Transport Minister and went with a group of London MPs to see the Prime Minister twice to try to persuade them against any increase in flights into Heathrow and we were successful in persuading them to drop the idea of all-day flights. This would have meant an increase in flights over Battersea and an end to the system of runway alternation, which gives people under each flightpath a break of eight hours each day without aircraft landing overhead.
I think there is still a chance of persuading the Government to drop the third runway and I shall certainly keep trying. It is not due to be started until 2015 and it has to go through a long planning inquiry first, and then it has to meet noise and pollution targets that are so high that some people think they may never be met.
The first vote was on a Conservative motion to ask the Government to ‘think again’ and the second vote would have been on a Government amendment supporting the third runway, which I would have opposed. Only the first was put to the vote and was defeated by 19 votes.