The UK’s junior trade minister, Greg Hands MP, has resigned from the government so that he can oppose the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
Parliament is expected to vote on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow on Monday.
Mr Hands, whose Chelsea and Fulham constituency is close to the airport, said he had pledged to oppose the new runway at the 2017 general election.
Political analysts have speculated that government ministers representing constituencies directly affected by the proposed development would be allowed to miss the vote.
However, today (June 21), Mr Hands tweeted:
“I wrote to the PM earlier this week on how I will honour these 2017 General Election pledges to the people of Chelsea & Fulham and vote against the Heathrow 3rd runway on Monday.
“As the Government will be whipping [ordering] 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 Heathrow expansion has other opponents within the Government too, including Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary who, in 2015, when Mayor of London, famously pledged to lie down in front of bulldozers to stop it happening. However, Mr Johnson is expected to be overseas on Monday, so he will miss the vote in the House of Commons. Despite the strong pro-and-anti views the subject generates, especially relating to environmental concerns, it is widely expected that Heathrow’s third runway plan will be backed by next week’s Commons vote.