Why I’ve resigned over the third runway

January 28, 2009 12:39 pm

Plane over homes

By Andy Slaughter

I have tendered my resignation from the government because of my opposition to a third runway at Heathrow. I do so with great regret, as I’ve enjoyed my last three years at the Departments of Transport, Trade and Industry and the Foreign Office.

This year will, I believe, see the biggest government investment ever in schools, hospitals and public transport and on these and other matters I will continue to support the government as it works to lead Britain out of recession.

However, I think the government has got it wrong on Heathrow, and on matters of this importance and where there is such a conflict I think my constituents – and my prospective constituents in Hammersmith – must come first.

Heathrow’s owners promised there would be no expansion after Terminal 5. Now they want a 3rd runway and a 6th terminal. Thousands of us could be affected by all-day aircraft noise, not to mention the impact on the wider environment.

Ministers are insisting that stringent noise and pollution limits are met before the new runway can be used, and that use of existing runways will not grow. But Heathrow will seek a way to break these promises once again.

So like many local people, I say enough is enough.

While I acknowledge that environmental controls insisted on by ministers and the refusal to allow increased use of existing runways were important concessions, they are not enough to prevent thousands of people being subject to all-day aircraft noise.

As a lifelong resident and MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush, I have battled airport expansion for 20 years. I now feel this issue is so important that I need the freedom from government to continue to work on a robust campaign that can stop the third runway being built.

I hope you agree that I have made the right decision.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • News Chris Leslie rules out raising National Insurance to pay for social care

    Chris Leslie rules out raising National Insurance to pay for social care

    The possibility of Labour pledging a specific tax to raise money for NHS spending resurfaced this weekend, with Ed Miliband apparently believing that the NHS is going to be a major issue in 2015. The supposed likely tax rise would be in National Insurance, and this has raised some debate on LabourList this summer, with MP Frank Field supporting the idea, while Andrew Harrop and Adebusuyi Adeyemi have both warned against it. In a revealing interview with Progress magazine, Shadow Chief […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Free School Meals: let’s avoid the sour grapes

    Free School Meals: let’s avoid the sour grapes

    This time last year, the government announced that it would introduce free school meals for all infant school children before the next election. The policy had been endorsed by the School Food Plan commissioned by Gove. It was being championed by the Lib Dems and brought forward so it could be implemented before the 2015 election in what appeared to be a pre-conference deal between the coalition partners. This week 1.5million children in infant schools in England, including my six year […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Weekly survey: Crime commissioners, Douglas Carswell and Labour defections

    Weekly survey: Crime commissioners, Douglas Carswell and Labour defections

    The role of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) has been in the news lately, with the low turnout at the recent West Midlands by-election and the Rotherham abuse scandal becoming focussed on the refusal to quit by the South Yorkshire PCC Shaun Wright. LabourList reported this weekend that Labour are planning to abolish PCCs after the election next year. Should the role be discontinued? Or is there just a better way of making them work? The defection of Douglas Carswell […]

    Read more →
  • Comment It shouldn’t cost so much to be a candidate

    It shouldn’t cost so much to be a candidate

    I love the Labour party. I enjoy canvassing, I pay my subs, go to the various fundraising dinners and vote in National Executive Committee (NEC) elections. I, like many, hate the constant barrage of ‘please donate’ emails and fear the dreaded fundraising call. And if I feel like that, imagine the dread felt by a candidate when they receive such a call. Don’t believe that happens? Hard to believe as it is, on more than one occasion now I have […]

    Read more →
  • News Jim Murphy resumes “100 streets” referendum tour after nationalist abuse

    Jim Murphy resumes “100 streets” referendum tour after nationalist abuse

    Jim Murphy is resuming his soapbox street meetings tour of Scotland tomorrow, after suspending it last week in the face of increasing co-ordinated abuse by supporters of independence. These protests at Murphy’s open-air meetings came to the attention of the media (and the police) when the Shadow Defence Secretary was hit with eggs last week. In a blog for the Spectator this weekend, Murphy explains how the organised groups go beyond the “normal cut and thrust” of politics that the meetings […]

    Read more →