UK MP’s backed the controversial plans to build a third runway at London's Heathrow airport, despite opposition from campaign groups and a promise of a legal challenge. The government won the key vote in the House of Commons by 415 votes to 119 — a majority of 296.
The government has pledged the airport will be built at no cost to the taxpayer, will create 100,000 jobs and will benefit the entire country, through guaranteed internal flights to the rest of the UK.
Ministers also insist the project will have built-in environmental protections, with the ability to fine Heathrow or ground aircraft if promises on night flights and other contentious issues are broken.
Sputnik: How important is the likely court case from the councils and campaign groups going to be going forward?
James Kelly: I think it’s highly unlikely to go ahead, the combination of the legal challenges and also the possibility of the government might not survive the full 5 years. I think there’s still a significant chance that the runway will go ahead despite the overwhelming vote last night.
Sputnik: What tensions will this vote have on the Conservative party bearing in mind Boris Johnson’s past comments?
James Kelly: Even Boris Johnson has said the runway is unlikely to go ahead which is an extraordinary position for a government that is supposedly bound by collective responsibility, which means that Boris Johnson is now committed to supporting Heathrow. He seems to be openly saying that he was in Afghanistan as an excuse; there wasn’t a genuine commitment it was just an excuse to allow him to oppose Heathrow expansion without having to vote and resign. So obviously the rebellion was fairly minor but the biggest fall out was the position of Boris Johnson and how it will affect his ever waning chances of being the next leader of the conservative party.
Sputnik: Can Boris continue in his role or does this undermine him?
James Kelly: Any government that is functioning as it should under the British constitution, Boris Johnson’s position would be untenable, because he is openly saying he doesn’t support the position that’s supposed to be Cabinet bound by collective responsibility. A three line whip was imposed, that applies to back benchers as well as Cabinet ministers. He’s openly opposing it so it should be untenable and this crazy world we now in habit under the conservative party it seems he will continue indefinitely and that’s extraordinary.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.