- Government minister quits to vote against government’s Heathrow expansion plans.
- The MP for Chelsea & Fulham is a long-term critic of the proposed Heathrow expansion project.
LONDON – Government minister Greg Hands resigned on Thursday to vote against plans to expand Heathrow Airport.
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Hands, a trade minister, said he would resign in order to vote against the government whip when the MPs vote on Monday.
Hands tweeted: “As the Government will be whipping the vote on Monday, this means I am resigning from the Government. It has been an honour to serve the Prime Minister (and her predecessor) for the last 7 years and I wish the PM & the Government every continuing success.”
The MP for Chelsea & Fulham is one of several Tory MPs whose constituency lies under the London airport’s flight path. He is a long-term critic of the proposed Heathrow expansion project, and the convention of “collective responsibility” means that ministers who vote against the government have to resign.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, whose constituency of Uxbridge and Ruislip is close to the airport, has previously threatened to “lie down in front of the bulldozers” to prevent the scheme going ahead, but he will reportedly be allowed to miss the vote on Monday to save face.
Heathrow’s bid for a third runway was approved by Cabinet earlier this year.
The debate over the merits of expanding Heathrow has raged for over two decades. The last Labour government backed the idea – and won a Commons vote on the issue – but it was mothballed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition that took power in 2010.
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