I’ll fight Heathrow over plans for a new runway, says Justine Greening – not ruling out resignation
Education Secretary Justine Greening, MP for Putney, has refused to rule out resigning if Heathrow is chosen by Theresa May to expand. She has been a vocal opponent of a larger Heathrow for years, as her constituency is badly overflown already by Heathrow planes – and the noise would be worse with a 3rd runway. She has now said she would continue to fight against Heathrow being the designated site for a runway. When asked by the BBC if her position in Cabinet would be ‘untenable’ if the decision went against her, Justine said the scenario was ‘hypothetical’. Back in May, before the Brexit vote, she predicted that the then PM, David Cameron, would have to shelve plans to expand Heathrow and choose Gatwick instead. Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park, close to Heathrow and badly over-flown by its planes, has again reiterated that he would trigger a by-election if the Cabinet chose Heathrow, but he would not clarify whether he would himself stand again. Theresa May herself clearly said, 10th May 2010 (on her own website) “Like many local residents, I strongly welcome to cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow. Expanding Heathrow in this way would have had a detrimental effect on the Maidenhead and Twyford areas by increasing levels of noise and pollution, and today’s announcement is a victory for all those who have campaigned against it.”
I’ll fight Heathrow over plans for a new runway, says Justine Greening as she refuses to rule out resigning if the airport expands
- Justine Greening has refused to rule out resigning over Heathrow plans
- Her Putney constituency is near the airport and opposes a third runway
- The education secretary says she will continue to fight against Heathrow expansion
Education Secretary Justine Greening has refused to rule out resigning if Heathrow airport is given the green light to expand.
Miss Greening’s Putney constituency, in south-west London, is near the airport and she has vowed to oppose a third runway.
The Cabinet minister told BBC 5 live’s Emma Barnett that she would continue to fight against Heathrow being the designated site for expansion in the South East.
When asked by the BBC if her position in Cabinet would be ‘untenable’ if the decision went against her, the minister simply said the scenario was ‘hypothetical’.
The MP is one of several high-profile Tories who are openly opposed to plans to build an extra runway, arguing it would mean extra noise pollution for her west London constituency.
In May, Miss Greening predicted that the then PM, David Cameron, would have to shelve plans to expand Heathrow and go for Gatwick instead.
Theresa May has previously clashed with Heathrow over the impact of noise and air pollution on her Maidenhead constituents.
Mrs May said: ‘We will shortly announce a decision on expanding Britain’s airport capacity’ but she did not give any hints about which option she would back.
She is expected to make an announcement on the repeatedly delayed decision in the coming weeks, after it was pushed back again following June’s EU referendum.
Ministers have stressed that another runway is needed in the south east to show that Britain is open for business in a post-Brexit world.
But they could face a by-election triggered by Zac Goldsmith, the Tory MP for Richmond Park, next to Heathrow, who has vowed to quit his seat if the government push through Heathrow.
Speculation that Zac Goldsmith may quit politics, rather than stand again as Richmond MP, if May approves Heathrow runway
The Evening Standard reports that Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative MP for Richmond Park, has said he would resign as an MP if Theresa May decides to approve a Heathrow 3rd runway. He has said for a long time that he would resign, and perhaps stand again as an independent. Zac’s constituency is heavily over-flown by Heathrow, and with a 3rd runway, people would lose a large part of the time they currently have “respite” from the noise, due to the current runway alternation. Heathrow has admitted that people would probably only get perhaps 4 hours per day without planes, rather than about 8 hours at present. But now Zac is understood to feel it would be wasting his constituents’ time to stand again at a by-election, and he would instead step down. His current majority is 23,000 (with about 43,000 votes out of around 58,000). The Liberal Democrats have held the seat in the past. The departure of Zac could be a worry for Theresa May as the Conservative party’s working majority is only 16. (The Conservatives have 329 MPs, out of 650). They cannot comfortably afford to lose any. Though Boris Johnson and Justine Greening are both deeply opposed to the runway, they have both said they would not resign, and give up their Cabinet positions, on the issue.
Back in 2010:
20 May 2010
Theresa May has welcomed the Government’s decision to cancel the third runway project at Heathrow Airport. The third runway, which was planned by the previous Government, would have resulted in additional flights and increased noise and pollution in the Maidenhead and Twyford areas, and was opposed by Theresa and many local residents.
The commitment to scrap the third runway project is contained in the coalition government’s ‘Programme for Government’, published today.
Theresa said, “Like many local residents, I strongly welcome to cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow. Expanding Heathrow in this way would have had a detrimental effect on the Maidenhead and Twyford areas by increasing levels of noise and pollution, and today’s announcement is a victory for all those who have campaigned against it.”