Boris Johnson’s Heathrow warning after Justine Greening’s move
The Mayor of London says the reshuffle shows the government wants to “ditch its promises and send yet more planes over central London”. He said, of the removal of Justine Greening, that “There can be only one reason to move her – and that is to expand Heathrow” and that the idea was “mad” and he would fight it all the way. Boris said “The third runway would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution – and a serious reduction in the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. We will fight this all the way. Even if a third runway was built, it would not do the job of meeting Britain’s needs.” But he continued saying London needs a 4 runway airport, “preferably to the east of London” – ie. Thames Estuary. Boris said: “And it is time for the government to level with Londoners. Are they in favour of a third runway at Heathrow or not?”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, says the reshuffle shows the government wants to “ditch its promises and send yet more planes over central London”.
Justine Greening, who is opposed to a third runway at Heathrow, has been replaced as transport secretary by Patrick McLoughlin.
“There can be only one reason to move her – and that is to expand Heathrow Airport,” Mr Johnson said.
The idea was “mad” and he would fight it all the way, he added.
In a statement, the mayor said: “The third runway would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution – and a serious reduction in the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people.
“We will fight this all the way. Even if a third runway was built, it would not do the job of meeting Britain’s needs.
“If we are to remain Europe’s premier business hub we need a new four-runway airport, preferably to the east of London, that addresses the problem of aviation capacity before it is too late, and business is driven into the arms of our European competitors.
“It is time for Patrick McLoughlin to look at all the options, including bolder solutions that would deliver massive benefits in jobs and growth.
“And it is time for the government to level with Londoners. Are they in favour of a third runway at Heathrow or not?”
Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, an opponent of Heathrow expansion,tweeted that “Greening’s appointment 11 months ago indicated the PM’s position on Heathrow was solid. Yielding so easily suggests panic, not principle”.
Friends of the Earth also criticised the replacement of Miss Greening, saying she had been “shunted out” and become a “victim of intense aviation lobbying over airport expansion”.
Downing Street insists the Government’s position is unchanged since the coalition agreement of 2010, which committed ministers to scrapping extra runway plans drawn up under Labour.
But it has launched a consultation process on future airport capacity and Chancellor George Osborne sparked speculation over a possible U-turn by saying he believed more runway capacity was needed in the south-east of England and all options should be examined.
‘Mad’ plan for a third Heathrow runway is back on, warns Boris
- Justine Greening dumped in reshuffle after threatening to quit over plan
- Mayor of London turns on PM and says: ‘There can be only one reason’
- Patrick McLoughlin takes over the transport brief after the reshuffle
By JASON GROVES
Boris Johnson accused ministers of being bent on a ‘simply mad’ plan to expand Heathrow after the project’s key Cabinet opponent Justine Greening was dumped as Transport Secretary.
Her replacement by former Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin reopened the debate over whether the Tories should ditch their opposition to a third runway at the 2015 election.
In an angry statement, London Mayor Mr Johnson said David Cameron appeared to be on the brink of breaking his election pledge to block a third runway at Heathrow.
Miss Greening, a fierce opponent of expansion at Heathrow which threatened her constituency of Putney, South-West London, had thought she would hold on to the job she had been in for less than a year.
But she fell victim to a new Tory drive, led by Chancellor George Osborne, to look again at the party’s position on the issue.
Despite pleading to remain in her post, she was shifted sideways to International Development.
Miner’s son Mr McLoughlin returns to the Department for Transport following a 20-year break.
After 17 years in the Tory whips’ office his current views on transport are unknown. Like most other Tory frontbenchers he has voted against Heathrow expansion in the past.
But he is now said to have an ‘open mind’ on the issue. And despite having previously served as aviation minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, he is afraid of flying.
Expansion: Debate has raged for years over a 3rd runway at Heathrow and the reshuffle intensified speculation there could be a u-turn on the issue
Anger: Tory Zac Goldsmith says he would stand down over the issue as he believes his party must protect those under the Heathrow flight path
Mr McLoughlin will also have to handle growing Tory criticism over plans for HS2, a new high-speed rail line linking London to the Midlands and the North.
Mr Johnson, who is promoting his own plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary, said Miss Greening had been a ‘first-rate Transport Secretary’.