Boris Johnson’s opposition to Heathrow could derail his bid to be Uxbridge MP
Date added: August 8, 2014
Boris Johnson has announced plans to contest a seat in the summer 2015 election and is understood to be in talks to stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip. He has been included on the official Conservative candidates list, allowing him to stand in Uxbridge. However, the constituency in west London contains thousands of voters who work at Heathrow who would fiercely oppose Mr Johnson’s candidacy. Boris has described a Heathrow 3rd runway as “bollocks”, and also said he will continue to campaign against high-speed rail. Boris believes, along with his completely unworkable and impossibly environmentally damaging Thames estuary airport scheme, that Heathrow should be close down and turned into a “tech city” with housing areas, a university etc. The Labour candidate running in the Uxbridge constituency opposes closing Heathrow and will try and turn any contest with Boris into a debate about Heathrow. A body of opinion believes Boris will have difficulty in winning in Uxbridge unless he reverses his call for Heathrow to be closed. Boris has described Heathrow as “a dead duck” and said he will “fight to my dying breath” to halt a 3rd runway.
Boris Johnson’s opposition to Heathrow could derail MP bid
Boris Johnson’s bid to become an MP could be in doubt because of his desire to see Heathrow closed and a four-runway estuary airport built in the Thames
Boris Johnson’s return to Parliament could be derailed because of his plans to close Heathrow and open an airport in the Thames Estuary.
The Mayor of London, who on announced plans to contest a seat in next year’s election and is understood to be in talks to stand in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.
However, the constituency in west London contains thousands of voters who work at Heathrow who would fiercely oppose Mr Johnson’s candidacy.
Mr Johnson believes Heathrow should be turned into a “tech city” so that the capital’s main airport can be moved out of the city and on to a floating island in the estuary.
The Labour candidate running in the constituency, Chris Summers, opposes closing Heathrow and will try and turn any contest against Mr Johnson into a debate about the future of the airport.
A series of voters and business leaders told LBC Radio that Mr Johnson would not win in the constituency unless he reverses his call for Heathrow to be shut down.
Mr Johnson described Heathrow as “a dead duck” and said he will “fight to my dying breath” to halt a third runway.
Some Conservatives feel that Mr Johnson’s return to Parliament will destabilise David Cameron because it will lead to intense speculation about Mr Johnson’s leadership ambitions.
Mr Johnson yesterday appeared to challenge Mr Cameron’s position on the European Union by insisting that reforming Britain’s relationship with Brussels would be “easy”.
The Mayor this week said that Britain has “nothing to fear” by voting to leave the EU in an in-out referendum if Mr Cameron is unable to change the UK’s relationship with Brussels.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, he rejected claims that the reforms he is demanding will be impossible to achieve in time for the referendum Mr Cameron has promised to hold in 2017.
Mr Johnson said: “I’m not so pessimistic. I think you could easily.”
In the interview, Mr Johnson disclosed that he has been included on the official Conservative candidates list, allowing him to stand in Uxbridge.
One London Tory MP said Mr Johnson would have to “temper” his views on closing Heathrow and building a new airport hub to the east of London.
Another Conservative said: “This could be a real problem. The seat has a majority of 11,000 but thousands of people who work in Heathrow live in the constituency and many thousands more are reliant on the airport for their incomes. He may have chosen the wrong place to stand.”
Chris Summers, the Labour candidate standing in the constituency, said: “So many people in Uxbridge and South Ruislip either work at Heathrow or have businesses which rely very much on it.
“They will be distraught that somebody who is [standing is] so hostile to Heathrow and actually wants it to close down.”
Bill Gritts, who runs Wings coach service, said: “In the surrounding areas it would have a major, major effect.”
He added: “If this is his manifesto for him to become the MP for Uxbridge, then I don’t think he is going to end up as an MP for Uxbridge.”
Other seats Mr Johnson is thought to be considering include Hertsmere and Hornchurch and Upminster.
To be party leader Mr Johnson has to win over backbench MPs and he has been courting the 2010 intake, which accounts for more than half of the Conservative Parliamentary party.
However, there is less support among him among older MPs from the 2005 intake and earlier who remember his unsuccessful stint as an Opposition education spokesman.
One senior member of the backbench 1922 committee is known to be particularly disparaging about Mr Johnson’s chances of advancement once he is an MP.
Boris Johnson is the favoured candidate to be the next Conservative leader among both the party’s supporters and the general public, according to an opinion poll released on Sunday.
A YouGov survey for the Sun on Sunday found 34% of people wanted the mayor of London, who is planning to stand for parliament next year, to take over when David Cameron stands down, with that figure rising to 50% among Tory backers.
The findings will increase the Westminster frenzy that has followed last week’s announcement by Johnson that he hopes to become an MP at next year’s general election while staying on as mayor.
In an interview with the Sunday Times that may make uncomfortable reading for Cameron, Johnson discusses his own “ruthless energy” and says he took the job of mayor to gain administrative experience.
Johnson’s friends said that he is in touch with Tory party officials in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency in west London where the sitting MP, Sir John Randall, is stepping down. Three candidates will be chosen by 28 August before the final selection is made by 12 September.
They played down the possibility of Johnson seeking to become leader of the Conservative party, saying he has no plans to challenge Cameron.
But one MP said Johnson has no ambitions to serve under Cameron, and was moving into the perfect position to make a challenge if next year’s election does not bring an overall Tory majority.
“He doesn’t want to serve under Cameron. It is not his style. But he wants to show what he can do on the biggest stage of all, of course he does,” he said.
In the Sunday Times, Johnson appears to criticise a number of policies that are supported by one of his rivals for leadership, George Osborne.
Johnson described support for a third runway at Heathrow as “bollocks”, saying he will continue to campaign against high-speed rail, and appears to express support for green targets – all positions thought to be contrary to Osborne’s.
The Mail on Sunday reported that dozens of Tory MPs are prepared to vote against the first Queen’s speech of the new government in a bid to replace Cameron with Johnson, if the Tory leader enters into another coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
This would happen if the Tories failed to win an overall majority and were forced into a coalition with other political parties, the paper claims.
Nearly all polls have predicted the Tories will fall short of an overall majority in 2015.