10 JUNE 2019
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The forthcoming election of the British prime minister (to hold that position in theory at any rate until 5 May 2022), is of vital importance to the airline industry. By that date physical work should have started on Heathrow R3, having already cleared parliament, and the airport itself all electric in terms of infrastructure transport. Britain’s largest and most important gateway would be well on its way to serving 90m passengers as the airline hub of Europe. Airlines would still be clamouring to get in.
As things stand there are a number of candidates for the post being vacated by Theresa May, but we shall concentrate on Boris Johnson, member of parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip since 2015, having been the MP for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and seen as a front runner for the position.
At Henley he was supportive of Heathrow. His present constituency is very reliant on the airport in terms of employment and in June 2018, when foreign secretary he faced sharp criticism from fellow Conservative MPs over his decision not to vote on Heathrow expansion by flying out of the country on an official visit to Afghanistan. The motion was carried by 415 votes to 119 – a majority of 296.
His tenure as a two-term mayor of London was curious. He took all the plaudits for the Olympics but it was his predecessor Ken Livingstone who combined with his rival Lord (Sebastian) Coe, the former athlete, to secure the event.
Using public funds he campaigned vigorously for a Thames Estuary airport, the scheme turned down by the Airports Commission. It has been argued that with the very closely run 2012 mayoral election Johnson did not win but Livingstone self-defeated, high profile Labour supporters rejecting his campaign.
Johnson could have stood a third time but with Sadiq Khan as the main opposition, in a predominately Labour expanse, he clearly felt that another safe parliamentary seat was a better platform for his voice to be heard.
Mr Johnson, perhaps with the estuary project in mind, opposed every way possible the expansion of London City Airport, the current development finally given the go-ahead by new mayor Sadiq Khan. Crossrail, developed during Johnson’s tenure, also failed to replace the existing Silvertown for London City Airport station, with the current situation that the railway runs within 100 yards of the terminal building but does not stop. A campaign for a station is still possible.
At the end of the day Boris Johnson is pragmatic. If he were to become prime minister he would want to see the country prosper. An expanded Heathrow is the key to that prosperity.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
Jo Kemp, Twyford
Good article but pretty irrelevant for most of us, not being members of the Conservative Party and therefore able to vote. Unfortunately Guy Fawkes is not standing; Boris maybe a buffoon but he will unite the Tory faithful against JC & therefore not divide the Brexit voters, giving JC his way in. JC = Turkeys voting for Xmas comes to mind...
Michael Preston, Weybridge/CPT
Boris Johnson would be a breath of fresh air whom I would be very happy to see as prime minister. My biggest fear is ending up with a m Marxist in number 10. Corbyn would destroy everything that has been achieved in the United Kingdom.
leo fewtrell, 2
My belief is that a resurrected Guy Fawkes would be a better P.M.than B.J.
David Savile, United Kingdom
That's the Boris "Yes I will lie down in front of the Heathrow bulldozers" Johnson, is it? Hmmm, British PM stopping LHR expansion should make for a good spectacle
Good article but my belief is that Michael Gove is a better candidate for the job