Stockton North Labour MP has today issued a double challenge to Mayoral hopeful Ben Houchen to spell out his plans to buy Durham Tees Valley Airport and clarify whether he supports WASPI women across the Tees Valley.
The challenges follow Mr Houchen’s statement that he would bring the airport into public ownership and his decision not to back a Stockton Borough Council motion in support of the 50s born women who have seen their pension age delayed by years with little or no notice.
Mr Houchen has said he’ll use part of the Mayor’s £15m a year budget to buy the airport but not explained how that will work or what discussions he has had with the airport’s owners about his plans.
“I am always open to debate and discussion about what is best for the future of our area but I do find it both amusing if not bizarre that a Conservative candidate is pledging renationalising a hub of transport.
“Mr Houchen is making promises that he cannot keep. Even the Conservative MP for Stockton South has stopped short of endorsing the idea fully, simply referring to the pledge as ‘an interesting proposal.’ He must come clean about exactly what meetings he has had with Airport owners and outline his financial plan to fulfil his pledge.”
Alex also said he needed to be honest with the WASPI women – he didn’t support the Council motion but having abstained from the vote, offered no vote of confidence in his Government’s policy to deprive these women of a fair pensions deal.
“I have already challenged Mr Houchen to demonstrate his support for the WASPI women by publishing the letter he promised to write to the Government about the issue.
“He has failed to do that. It is time for him to come clean – does he support the WASPI or does he not. They have a right to know.”
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