Eagle warns of 'uproar' over air traffic control plans
Labour will oppose any attempt to sell the Government's stake in the UK's air traffic control system, Maria Eagle has insisted, as she accused George Osborne of trying to "sell off the family silver".
The Shadow Transport Secretary warned there would be "uproar" in the country if ministers press ahead will proposals to sell half of the Government's 49% share in NATS, the national air traffic service.
"The implication is that the strategic asset of our national air traffic control system could be controlled by a foreign government - that is the implication," she told Sky News
"The Government has spent two years preparing for this...If they do go ahead with this sale Labour will oppose it because it’s important as a nation that we control our air traffic system, not sell it to companies or shareholders who may pass it on to foreign governments."
Seven airlines, including British Airways, EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic, are seeking to sell their stake in the part-privatised company, and are courting potential buyers, according to reports.
The Government has also been considering selling half its share in the company, but Ms Eagle said Labour would force a vote in the House of Commons if ministers did not drop the plans.
"It would have a lot of scrutiny and I don’t think they will necessarily manage to do it. I think there will be uproar in the country, now is the time for them to make it clear they’re not going ahead with this sale," she said.
"The Prime Minister said yesterday that he spent half of his time trying to prevent his government ploughing into brick walls, here’s a chance for him to prevent another collision. He needs to make clear, swiftly, that this sale is not going ahead."