HC Deb 27 November 2002 vol 395 cc314-6
Q14. Mr. Mark Prisk (Hertford and Stortford)

What representations he has received concerning the Government's proposals for Stansted airport.

The Prime Minister

The Government continue to receive a large number of responses to the consultation document, "The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom". Ministers and officials in the Department for Transport have also met a wide range of organisations as part of the consultation.

Mr. Prisk

Given the High Court's decision that the Government's consultation is indeed irrational and unjust, will the Prime Minister clarify for my constituents and for the House why his Transport Ministers specifically overrode the advice that they were given, which was that they should include Gatwick in the first place? That was the advice; why did they ignore it?

The Prime Minister

We excluded Gatwick because we had given an undertaking to exclude Gatwick. Yesterday's court hearing found that, in any event and despite that, we should include Gatwick. The Secretary of State for Transport has said that that will be done, and that is of course right. The hon. Gentleman says that it was decided that it was unfair, arbitrary and irrational; the reason is the one that I gave. Many people around Gatwick will feel aggrieved that it has gone back in when we had given a specific undertaking that it would not. However, the court has decreed that it should go back in, and that is what will happen.

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