Conservative lawmaker Zac Goldsmith, a vocal opponent of the expansion of Heathrow Airport, announces his resignation from parliament after Britain’s government backed the $22 billion project.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 25, 2016) (ITN) – British Conservative lawmaker Zac Goldsmith, a vocal opponent of the expansion of Heathrow Airport, on Tuesday (October 25) announced his decision to resign from parliament, describing the project as an “outrage”.
Goldsmith, who represents a constituency near the airport, had previously pledged to quit if Heathrow was given the go ahead to expand — something which happened earlier on Tuesday.
By backing the $22 billion expansion, Britain ended 25 years of indecision with an ambitious plan to boost global trade links following the vote to leave the European Union.
Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, defeated a proposal from smaller rival Gatwick to secure the first new full-length runway to be built near London in 70 years after environmental and political protests scuppered previous attempts.
The long-awaited decision put Prime Minister Theresa May on a collision course with several senior politicians including her own foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the plan is also likely to be challenged in the courts.
But with a promise of jobs and greater trade links after Britons opted in June for Brexit, May is likely to win parliament’s approval, triumphing over an issue that has paralysed successive governments in the past.
Goldsmith’s resignation will prompt an election for his west London seat of Barnes.
Goldsmith, who unsuccessfully ran for London mayor earlier this year, said he would run as an independent candidate in the by-election, which he described as a “referendum on Heathrow expansion”.
With established links around the world, Heathrow always offered the greatest economic potential.
However, its position to the west of London, near several affluent suburbs represented in parliament by Conservative lawmakers including Johnson, drew a powerful coalition of opponents worried about noise and pollution.