Chris Grayling to lay out 'Heathrow or nothing' warning in call for MPs to back airport expansion

Posted On: 
3rd June 2018

Chris Grayling is set to call on MPs to back the expansion of Heathrow Airport later this week, saying there is no alternative option in place to end the long-running saga.

A vote on whether to expand Heathrow is due later this month
PA Images

The Transport Secretary will reportedly tell the Commons that neither Gatwick, nor an airport in the Thames Estuary, could make up the extra capacity that a third runway at Britain’s busiest airport would.

Mr Grayling is expected to lay out the details of the project in the coming days, to tee up a Commons vote by the end of the month.

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A source told the Sun on Sunday: “If this fails, it will take years and years before we get anywhere near this point again.

“The choice this month is simple — it’s Heathrow or nothing.”

A two-mile runway is planned to allow for an additional 260,000 flights a year by late 2025.

The intervention will come as the Government prepares to end more than a decade of indecision by the Commons, despite MPs remaining bitterly divided over the issue.

Boris Johnson is among the dozen or so Tory MPs who continue to oppose the plans, while Shadow Chancellor and Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell is said to be among Labour’s opponents to the runway.

A source close to the Foreign Secretary told the Mail on Sunday: "He hasn't changed his mind on the issue and isn't likely to do so now." 

Mr Johnson, who is the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, once said he was prepared to lie down 'in front of bulldozers' to stop the airport's expansion, which he said was “barbarically contemptuous of the rights of the population”.

The Government, which has already pledged built-in extra domestic flights to the English regions, Northern Ireland and Scotland, has already secured the backing of the DUP and SNP.