In July 1990 the then Aviation Minister under Thatcher, Patrick McLoughlin, told the House:
“I am afraid that I cannot say to my hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne, who so ably introduced the debate, that I can wholly rule out Heathrow. If I did that, my hon. Friends who have spoken on behalf of other areas would ask me wholly to rule out their airports as well. That is not the way forward. The way forward is to do as the Government have done—to set up a working group. [Laughter.] It is easy for Opposition Members to mock—we are used to that, but they never come forward with any constructive suggestions.”
The new Transport Secretary’s Derbyshire seat is a long way from Heathrow, though the Tories would be fools to reverse on their Heathrow election pledge. It’s as if they want to lose every seat in West London…
Boris is not very happy about the Greening move:
“There can be only one reason to move her – and that is to expand Heathrow airport. Clear that the government wants to ditch its promises. We will fight this all the way.”
This could get messy.