Nick's intervention in the Government Statement about Airports Policy
ick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs)
The Secretary of State said that the Government accepted the case for expansion. Presumably that is why they set up the commission in the first place, so it did not need three years to tell them that. He also said that the Government accepted the Airports Commission’s shortlist of options. Increasingly, he presents the case as though there are three equal options from the Airports Commission, but has the commission not made an unequivocal recommendation? Should not the Government at least be open about that?
Is he aware that last week the chief executive of International Airlines Group, Willie Walsh, while expressing concerns about the cost of Heathrow, said that there was “no business case for expanding Gatwick,” and: “Very few airlines support the proposal and no one would move there while Heathrow remains open”?
Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Mr Patrick McLoughlin)
I could also cite quotes from Willie Walsh which would put a question mark over the Heathrow proposals. If we are getting into the game of quoting Willie Walsh, we will find many that could be cited on this subject. The correct thing for the Government to do is to look at all three options in light of the environmental work and the mitigation circumstances that we would like to see, and then return to the House once we have decided with which option we will go forward.
You may be interested to read the Hansard report of the debate in full here or to watch the Parliament TV footage of Nick's exchange with the Transport Secretary here.