A group of MPs opposed to the expansion of Gatwick Airport has called on the two remaining contenders to be prime minister to support the expansion of Heathrow, ‘to put the national interest first'.
Writing on behalf of the Gatwick Coordination Group of MPs whose constituencies surround Gatwick, chairman and MP for Reigate Crispin Blunt urged Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May to ‘act swiftly on the recommendation’.
Local MPs oppose the possible expansion of Gatwick Airport
The Airports Commission’s final report last July recommended Heathrow as the site of a new runway in south east England but ministers have twice delayed a decision.
Following the EU referendum and David Cameron’s resignation, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced that a decision on the issue would be delayed until at least the Autumn.
In a statement, the group said: ‘Expanding Gatwick would be a betrayal of the Conservative vision for Britain and undermine the ideals of the Conservative Party which puts the national interest first.’
Mr Blunt said in his letter: ‘The Heathrow option, endorsed unanimously and unambiguously by the independent Airports Commission a year ago, is consistent with realising the ambitions for our country and economy that the Conservative majority-government was elected to do.’
He argued that ‘Now more than ever’ the Conservative Government needed ‘to show that Britain is open for business and to strengthen our trading links with markets around the world’.
Mr Blunt also said that ‘Gatwick expansion would deliver a second-class airport on the wrong side of London for the rest of the country and at the foot of an already over-congested railway – the Brighton Mainline, which has the worst performing rail services in the UK’.
Ms May, who has the support of most Conservative MPs and is seen as the favourite, is believed to oppose Heathrow expansion.