Thursday, 23 February 2012

Fighting Boris Island?

Today (23rd February 2012) questions were raised in Parliament concerning Airport capacity and national plans to increase capacity.

MIA? Medway's MPs
The general thrust was that there would be no expansion to Heathrow but that expansion was indeed needed. I get the impression that this is going through committees and looked into by the Government in general. There was also a lot of weight put on HS2 as a solution to many of the problems of internal transportation and should a successful railway be put in then a weight of pressure would be relieved from the airports and cut back on the need for expansion in capacity.

Then came a question from the MP for Kettering Mr Phillip Hollobone MP asking about "Boris Island" and stating that the Island was "the only way" for expansion. Justine Greening's response was fairly non-committal which for campaigners is fairly annoying as we still don't know where the Government is going to go with this - to be fair I don't think they know either, which is clearly a good thing as it means the fight is still on.

The thing that got me was a complete absence of our MPs in the Chamber. I could be wrong but I didn't see either Mark Reckless, Tracey Crouch or Rehman Chishti in the chamber at that time. Mr Reckless was present for Health questions just before and Mr Chishti appeared towards the end but that was to raise a question about Honour Killings in questions to the Home secretary. This may have seemed like a nothing debate or set of questions, indeed there seems to be a lack of urgency over the whole thing as the Government await the results of the Mayoral election this May but for the constituents who are watching (granted I bet I was the only one watching BBC parliament on their holiday) it is disappointing that none of the three were present. This is one of the fore most concerning National policies to effect the area, something that is giving great Media coverage and of local concern. By not being there it gives free ammunition to Medway Labour, who have made a point of attacking the National (and local to an extent) Conservative party and scoring points from them. I know they are all busy people and that they have many other engagements but to just miss the session or leave before it starts is just so agonising.

I sincerely trust that they are working on this and I know they have stated their opposition and raised questions in the past and will continue to do so on our behalf. I also sincerely hope this was a one off and that they were unlucky that someone noticed!


As mentioned by John Ward in the comments, and was pointed out to me on Twitter by Messenger reporter Alan McGuinness Medway's three (and a further three MPs from North Kent) had a meeting with Justine Greening at Midday ( I was watching from 10 - 12.) on the subject of Boris Island.

Apologies for slow changes, I was away from a PC!

According to Alan in his twitter stream;

Tracey Crouch MP response
Spoken to Tracey Crouch re Greening meeting. Described it as firm + frank. Said 6 N.Kent MPs would continue to push for meeting with PM.

He then goes on to quote Tracey with;

She’s [Greening] listening to all sides of the discussion + we had the opportunity to make it very clear what we thought.
We still want to speak to the Prime Minister, we intend to press for that. It isn’t either or as far as we’re concerned.

So there you have it. In light of this meeting at 12 it would have been unnecessary for the MPs to be in the chamber and they are indeed fighting our corner. As I stated in the blog post, they have worked hard in the past and (in answer to my hope) continue to do so in the future on this issue.
I can understand Ms Greening's position as a Government minister has to do what is right for the whole country and not just for Medway thus taking in many opinions. I just hope for the environment and the Medway Town's sake that they do get to petition the Prime Minister personally and that common sense prevails over the ambition of Mr Johnson.

I also retract my former statement about MIA, they clearly did have somewhere more important to be and on this subject to! Best to be preparing for it rather than wasting time in the house!


  1. Yes, they and three other North Kent MPs are having the (separate) meeting they had arranged with the Prime Minister.

    I'm not sure if it was at exactly the same time as this debate, or (if not) whether it was a legal or other necessity for them to keep out of this, but – as I and others have reported – they are well and truly on the case. This is why the new DRINK group has specifically attacked them, for another clue...

    1. Hi John,

      I saw some tweets not long after I published (but was hanging the washing out!!) which have made me rewrite the conclusion with a better ending - including retraction!

      All the best