Justine Greening 'in the way' of U-turn on Heathrow

Transport Secretary's opposition to runway makes her position in Cabinet 'untenable'

Justine Greening could become the first Cabinet Minister to be removed from her job because she supports Government policy, it was suggested yesterday.

Some senior Conservatives, who are in favour of building a third runway at Heathrow to boost economic growth, said that Ms Greening's long-held opposition to the plan meant that she could not remain in her position as Transport Secretary.

They suggested that with Chancellor George Osborne now in favour of a third runway it would be necessary to move Ms Greening in the planned September reshuffle to allow a U-turn to take place. However, others in Government dismissed the idea, pointing out that opposing the runway was Government policy.

They added that the Liberal Democrats had been clear that they would block the move and that David Cameron said last month that Government policy would not be changing. But Richard Wellings, head of transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank, said Ms Greening's position was "untenable".

"It is a problem having her as Transport Secretary with such a local interest in the issue; given her critical views on Heathrow expansion, it would make sense to replace her," Mr Wellings told the Financial Times.

One senior Tory added: "It would be bizarre to keep her in that job when her position over aviation is now the polar opposite of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor."

The Government is expected to publish its long-awaited consultation into airport expansion in the South-east in the next couple of months. While that will not specifically rule out a third runway – and ask for supporters to make a case for it – it will make clear that Government policy is to look for other solutions.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, which controls British Airways, said he saw the lack of progress on aviation as a "disgrace".

"I don't believe this government has the political will to address the issues," he said. "David Cameron seems a lot happier clapping and cheering for gold medals than dealing with tough, long-term economic challenges."

Ms Greening made her name campaigning as a backbencher in her Putney constituency through her resistance to a third runway at the airport. The Tories entered the 2010 general election opposing the Heathrow scheme, but many MPs now want a public U-turn on the issue to promote economic growth.

Richard Harrington, a Tory backbencher, said he backed "anything that will increase capacity" at Heathrow.

"I was very impressed at Justine Greening at the Treasury and I'm sure that if she had a problem with the Heathrow project they can put her in another more senior job where her talents could be properly used by the Government," he said.

But Department of Transport sources pointed to remarks made by Mr Cameron just last month, in which he effectively ruled out a third runway – at least in the short term.

"Be in no doubt, by the end of the year we will have both this review underway and the call for evidence about all the future options underway, and I think that's vitally important," Mr Cameron said.

He added: "Both the Coalition parties made a pledge not to have a third runway, and that's a pledge that we made and that we will keep."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant to work with Autistic students

£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...

KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...

SEN Learning Support Assistant

£70 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Learning Support Assistants n...

Teachers required for Cambridge Primary positions Jan 2015

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in Cambridge...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain