Gatwick MPs seek urgent assurances on Heathrow Ministers' involvement in airports decision

Crispin Blunt MP has called again on the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, to make sure Ministers who have a constituency interest in the national decision to be taken on airport expansion are not involved in the Government’s consideration of the Airports Commission report due to be published tomorrow.

Sir Jeremy Heywood has responded to Crispin Blunt’s letter of 10th June in which Gatwick Coordination Group MPs sought assurances that the provisions on conflicts of interest in the Ministerial Code will apply to Ministers who have a constituency interest in opposing a new runway at Heathrow.

Sir Jeremy’s letter is equivocal, saying “These matters are considered on a case-by-case basis, reflecting specific Ministerial responsibilities and the nature of any constituency interest. These Code provisions will of course apply to the Government’s response to the Airports Commission’s Final Report”.

The Gatwick Coordination Group is concerned that this is not a clear response to the specific high profile case of the imminent Airports Commission report.

In his reply, Crispin Blunt asks for Sir Jeremy to reconsider his response and says:

“The Government’s consideration of the Airports Commission report will be a matter of great national importance. The existence of explicit and expressed constituency interests of senior members of the Government is a matter of record. So much so that part of the case being made by the promoters of development at Gatwick rather than Heathrow is the existence of these interests rather than the national interest.

“It disgraces basic tenets of transparent and good governance that these suggestions can be made. They should be an affront to you as Cabinet Secretary. That you appear not to be in a position to address our concerns on this very high profile issue is a grave matter.”

In his letter, Crispin Blunt describes the suggestion implied in Sir Jeremy’s letter that the Ministerial Code only applies to Ministers’ decision-making within departments and not when involved in collective Government consideration as “a risible proposition, if it was not so serious as to significantly prejudice the national interest in this instance.”


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Crispin Blunt MP to Sir Jeremy Heywood 30 June 2015 959.93 KB
Cabinet Secretary response to Crispin Blunt MP 29 June 2015 52.7 KB
Crispin Blunt MP to Sir Jeremy Heywood 10 June 2015 886.48 KB