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


  • Comment UKIP’s attitude to accountability should worry us all

    UKIP’s attitude to accountability should worry us all

    UKIP’s reaction to the allegations over the use of the party’s EU funding has been telling. It tells us that they are not yet ready to take the step up from a being an assortment of oddballs and cranks to a serious political party. After The Times ran their front page on Tuesday, UKIP’s immediate reaction was to denounce the paper as a mouthpiece for the establishment, rather than bother to refute what they felt was incorrect about the article. […]

    Read more →
  • Featured In praise of Simon Danczuk

    In praise of Simon Danczuk

    Simon Danczuk has led the front pages this week with his explosive account of how an MP could hide a lifetime of abusing children. The Westminster reaction to his Cyril Smith allegations? Embarrassed coughs. Good on Simon for having the courage to speak his mind. Since his 2010 election, itself a feat of endurance, he’s demonstrated a forensic mind and a canny eye for a story. He represents a diminishing Westminster breed, a ‘character’ who speaks with an authentic voice […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Swinging The Axe – Why hiring Axelrod means Miliband is going big

    Swinging The Axe – Why hiring Axelrod means Miliband is going big

    David Axelrod has been hired by Labour to work on the party’s general election campaign. First – let me get the excitement out. David Axelrod is the biggest star in the world when it comes to political campaigning. Nevermind “guru”, this guy is a campaigning deity in his own right. From Barack Obama’s Chicago kitchen table to the Oval Office was a journey that few thought possible, but Axelrod managed the shift from state senator, to Senator, to President in […]

    Read more →
  • News Video David Axelrod’s video message to Labour members and supporters

    David Axelrod’s video message to Labour members and supporters

    Labour’s new strategist David Axelrod – who helped get Obama elected in 2008 and 2012 – has recorded a message for Labour members and supporters. He argues that “It’s isn’t people like me who win these elections – it’s people like you” – here’s the video in full:

    Read more →
  • Comment 10 social history visits for British politicos

    10 social history visits for British politicos

    New Lanark (Lanarkshire) The Robert Owen Museum (Montgomeryshire) The People’s Palace (Glasgow) St Giles’ Cathedral (Edinburgh) The People’s History Museum (Manchester) The International Slavery Museum (Liverpool) Cable Street (London) The Holocaust Memorial Garden (London) The British Library (London) The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum (Dorset) Obviously most LabourList readers think of this Saturday as part of the countdown to polling day but on the off-chance your organiser is letting you get any friends and family time this holiday weekend, here are ten […]

    Read more →