Along with a number of his colleagues from the South East, Mike Weatherley, the Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade, has written to the Secretary of State for Transport about the need for a decision to be made on a new airport for the South East.
The letter was sent to the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, following the establishment of the Airports Commission.
The letter urges the Government to make a timely decision on when an announcement will be made and highlights that, “We believe it is important that in spring 2015 we are able as candidates to give our electors a clear indication of what our Party will do on this issue when re-elected to government.”
“A new airport for the South East is vital to the economy of the whole country. Clear direction from the Government on how we will increase our aviation capacity is necessary for businesses who wish to invest as well as the electorate who deserve to know where any future expansion will be located and what is Conservative Party policy.”Dear Secretary of State,
The letter reads:
“We welcome the Government’s recognition of the need for a clear national policy for airports, as demonstrated by the establishment of the Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies.
“As elected representatives of residents in the South East, we have a particular interest in the outcome. We understand, of course, that both the Government and the Davies Commission must take a national perspective but at the same time we would want you to be very much aware that all the options currently on the table have serious political ramifications. Hence we would appreciate some clarity about the timetable set for the Davies Commission and how it is envisaged this will mesh with Party policy as we approach the 2015 General Election.
“We understand that the Davies Commission is tasked to produce two reports, one in December 2013 and a final one in mid-2015, after the General Election. We believe the interim report is currently planned to focus on short-term measures, and consequently, the Party is likely to enter the next election without a clear position. We see no sign to date that other political parties will feel similarly constrained, and the effect is that in each of the possible sites for expansion or new-build, this will place a severe handicap on Conservative candidates.
“We believe this needs to be resolved before the General Election, and ideally the local elections in 2014. One opportunity to do so lies in the scope of the Davies Commission’s interim report, which could, with adequate notice, be used to provide clarity about a preferred option, with the remaining stages of the review being used to iron out the details. We understand that this may pose difficulties for candidates in the area affected, but it will at least ensure that the backlash is not shared by all those living in areas currently under consideration.
“We believe it is important that in spring 2015 we are able as candidates to give our electors a clear indication of what our Party will do on this issue when re-elected to government.”
The following MP’s signed the letter:
Zac Goldsmith MP
Angie Bray MP
Bob Blackman MP
Eleanor Laing MP
Mark Reckless MP
John Redwood MP
Mike Weatherley MP
Mary MacLeod MP
Bob Stewart MP
Mark Field MP
Matthew Offord MP
Nick de Bois MP
Bernard Jenkin MP
Andrew Rosindell MP
Tim Yeo MP
Mike Freer MP
Jonathan Djanogly MP