Politics is a rough trade

There's been a chorus of disapproval from some local MPs following last week's cabinet reshuffles. Phil Hornby muses on their fate.

"No third runway at Heathrow"

Airport row rumbles on but the Prime Minister says he stands by his manifesto promise of "no third runway at Heathrow"

New Transport Minister

Heathrow buzz after reshuffle

The arrival of a new Transport Secretary after a Cabinet reshuffle has renewed speculation about a third runway at Heathrow.

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Greening 'victim of aviation lobby'

Reacting to news that Justine Greening has been moved as Transport Secretary, Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins said: “Justine Greening is a victim of intense aviation lobbying over airport expansion - and an economic argument that simply doesn’t add up.

“She’s been shunted out of her transport job because of her opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.

“We don’t need more airports or runways in the south east – they would have a devastating impact on local communities and the environment and undermine UK action on climate change.”

McLoughlin's role 'to rethink airports'

by Phil Hornby, Political Correspondent
Patrick McLoughlin at Number 10 today Credit: PA

The appointment of Patrick McLoughlin as Transport Secretary is the clearest signal yet that the Government are rethinking their policy on airports in the southeast.

A third runway at Heathrow was explicitly ruled out by the Conservatives at the last election. And that policy was never going to change so long as Justine Greening had the job - her Putney constituency is on the flight path.

Mr McLoughlin carries no such baggage. He is a working class Tory, a former miner who, crucially, is a northerner. He will look at aviation in the south east with a fresh eye.

It has rapidly become one of the most difficult issues facing the government, with so many different solutions on offer: expansion of Heathrow, or expansion of Stansted and/or Gatwick, a new airport in Kent, a new airport in the Thames Valley - or, no expansion at all.

Every option has its supporters - but many more opponents.

It will be the toughest issue the new Transport Secretary has to face. And there's no doubt he has been appointed specifically to sort it out.

Miller 'long tipped for post'

by Phil Hornby, Political Correspondent

The Basingstoke MP Maria Miller, the new culture secretary, has long been tipped for a cabinet job after impressing many observers in her role as a junior minister at Work and Pensions.

Many had tipped her to be the new Health Secretary.

Instead that job has gone to Jeremy Hunt, and she gets his old job at Culture.

That department will feel a little bit lost now that it doesn't have an Olympic Games to organise, but crucially Ms Miller will have to ensure the government's promises about Olympic legacy are carried through.

With that, and the Leveson inquiry to deal with, she will have a full intray when she gets to her new desk.

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