Meeting of Cabinet’s runway sub-committee expected to decide on Tuesday which to back

The Sunday Times reports that there will be a meeting on 1st December of the Cabinet sub-committee (the Economic Affairs (Airports) Sub-Committee) working to push through a new runway.  David Cameron will then consider the decision of the sub-committee before is it considered by the full Cabinet.  An announcement will be made next week, or the week after.  The Times believes the sub-committee backs a Heathrow runway.  There are 10 members of the sub-committee, and it does not include any of the vociferous opponents of Heathrow, such as Boris Johnson, Justine Greening or Theresa Villiers – or even Philip Hammond or Theresa May. It is likely that Zac Goldsmith would resign as MP for Richmond Park, requiring a by-election. There will be fury – especially in the Heathrow Villages and those living near Heathrow – that Cameron had gone back on his word. He specifically promised at the 2010 election that: “No Ifs. No Buts. No 3rd Runway.” Going back on a promise is bad enough, but people believed him, and made life-decisions about their homes etc on the strength of it. They have been betrayed, and this betrayal could be Cameron’s legacy. The Conservative Party also said in May 2010 that there would be no new runways at Gatwick or Stansted. That was just as much a promise as no Heathrow runway.  

Third Heathrow runway: Cabinet committee expected to back proposal this week

By Ian Johnston (Independent)
…..Extracts ….

A third runway at Heathrow Airport is expected to be given the go-ahead by a Cabinet sub-committee this week, according to a report.

Senior Conservative party sources told The Daily Telegraph that the move was expected to be announced unless it was delayed by the political controversy over whether to bomb Isis in Syria.

The sub-community is thought to have added new restrictions on noise and pollution – along with a pledge not to allow a fourth runway – in a bid to soften the blow on those campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow.

Conservative sources said there was likely to be some kind of vote in the Commons over expanding Heathrow, even though this was not strictly necessary.

The final decision on the runway still has to be taken by the full Cabinet whatever the sub-committee agrees next week. That will take time. Though the sub-committee is expected to finalise its recommendations, the prime minister will then consider this before a session of the whole cabinet decide on it.

The expectation is that the sub-committee will back Heathrow expansion because it is overwhelmingly composed of Heathrow supporters like  Sajid Javid.

Opponents of Heathrow may argue that as Heathrow is not prepared to agree to no night flights, Gatwick would be an easier option.  Boris Johnson and Zac Goldsmith remain implacably opposed to a Heathrow runway.


In May 2010 the Conservatives, in the Conservative-LibDem coalition, said:

11. Environment
The parties agree to implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy, including:

• The cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow;

• The refusal of additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted;



Looming decision on Heathrow threatens to send Tories into tailspin

Mark Hookham, Transport Correspondent (Times)
29 November 2015

MINISTERS will decide this week whether to approve controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow — potentially plunging the Tories into a furious political row.

A crunch meeting of a 10-strong subcommittee of the cabinet is widely expected to support Heathrow’s expansion plans. Its decision — likely to be one of the most contentious of this parliament — will be announced quickly, firing the starting gun for years of bitter planning battles.

Full Sunday Times article at




See earlier

Cabinet ‘stitch-up’ on Heathrow: Cameron chairing runway sub-Committee, locking out ministers who oppose 3rd runway

On the day MPs left for their summer break on 21st July, the Cabinet Office slipped out the names of 10 senior Tories on the Economic Affairs (Airports) sub-Committee. This committee will consider what to do about a new runway. Chaired by David Cameron it includes vocal supporters of a 3rd Heathrow runway including Chancellor George Osborne and Business Secretary Sajid Javid. There are concerns that the committee’s membership deliberately excludes the Cabinet members (Justine Greening, Philip Hammond, Theresa May, Theresa Villiers, Greg Hands   – and even Boris).  Also on the Committee are:  Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Environment Secretary Liz Truss, Scotland Secretary David Mundell, Communities Secretary Greg Clark, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin and Chief Whip Mark Harper.  The make up of the Committee is seen as indicating that David Cameron is ready to over-rule concerns from ministers who oppose the runway, and suggests the final decision will not be made by the Cabinet as a whole.  John Stewart, Chair of HACAN, said:  ‘It certainly looks like a stitch-up. It could be Cameron is going for a solution he believes will work in the short-term but could backfire in the medium term because some of the Cabinet ministers who are against a third runway feel so strongly that it could be a resigning issue.’




Cabinet said to be ‘falling behind’ on Heathrow expansion decision (as runway sub-committee struggles)

The Standard reports that insiders (in the Cabinet?) say the Cabinet sub-Committee is having a very difficult time deciding what to do about a runway, and the schedule is slipping. It is not likely to be announced by the Autumn Statement by George Osborne on 25th November. The meetings of the Economic Affairs (Airports) Sub-Committee are secretive and Cabinet will not reveal even their dates.  However, the Standard has been told that last week an “informal” gathering of its members was briefed by Sir Howard Davies, and that David Cameron and George Osborne also had updates separately from Sir Howard. “Other ministers at the gathering raised questions but none of them were seen to pose an insurmountable challenge to another runway in west London.”  Some sort of announcement still should be made before the Commons rises on 17th December.  A second official meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee is understood to be due in the next week or two, so the DfT officials can present their analysis of the Airport Commission’s final report. It is understood that the full Cabinet would be able to discuss the sub-Committee’s decision, and this could happen in December. The Standard says: “Few Cabinet ministers are expected to defy Mr Osborne and block a 3rd runway.”