Labour MP Geoff Hoon ‘not banned’ from Latitude

Festival organiser clarifies his statement

Geoff Hoon MP, Secretary of State for Transport, has not been banned from attending the Latitude festival, despite reports suggesting that he had.

Yesterday (January 19) The Guardian reported that Melvin Benn, head of Festival Republic, which runs the event, had banned festival regular Hoon because of his stance on the forthcoming new runway at Heathrow Airport.

However, Benn has since moved to clarify his statement, saying that Hoon was not banned from Latitude.

He did, however, confirm that he was attempting to persuade Hoon to drop plans for a third Heathrow runway by tempting him with a lifetime Latitude ticket if he does.

“He hasn’t been banned,” Benn told “Latitude is gaining a name as a very green festival and it is very much core to what we are doing.

“Certainly there’s a strong argument to suggest that a third runway at Heathrow isn’t a great idea, and what I did say is that it would be rather strange him being at such a green festival.

“It is probably an ambitious hope to persuade him that if I gave a lifetime ticket to him and his family then he would see it as sufficient reward not to go ahead with the third runway.

“If he buys a ticket, he buys a ticket.”

Geoff Hoon has yet to comment.