Heathrow plans to clear Commons
Boris Johnson isn’t the only anti-Heathrow expansion campaigner who has already given up on the Commons vote due at 10pm. In a message to local Tories in his Uxbridge constituency the Foreign Secretary said resigning in principle would have “changed absolutely nothing.”
John McDonnell speaking near the airport to campaigners in his Hayes and Harlington constituency talked about where the campaign goes next after MPs have cleared the project. The public messaging for non-adjacent voters will continue to be that the bill for expansion could land on your doorstep because the Heathrow company is not in good enough shape to absorb cost over-runs. You get a very interesting account of those risks in this FT (paywall) piece.
Veteran campaigners boast that they’ve managed to stall every expansion of Heathrow by 4 to 5 years every time the airport has come up with a new planned addition. The logic runs that by the time we add that sort of delay to this latest expansion the numbers and the politics could look very different.
Tomorrow, Boris must face critics in the Commons. His decision to duck the Commons vote on Heathrow and instead diary a meeting in Kabul with the Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister doesn’t look like the sort of engagement that normally sends Cabinet level ministers chasing round time zones. Another clue as to how hastily put together this trip was: President Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton was in London today and I understand had been expecting to meet Boris Johnson during this visit. He did meet Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK National Security Adviser and others from the Quad but not the Foreign Secretary.