Tories drop opposition to Heathrow expansion, now Goldsmith should step aside
"The publication of the Conservative manifesto today is an embarrassment for Richmond Park Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith. He should honour his word and step aside," says Robin Meltzer, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Richmond Park.
The Conservative manifesto says that the party is going to await the results of the Davies Commission into aviation capacity before making a decision.
"So, Heathrow is well and truly back on the table if we have a majority Conservative government after the next election," said Robin.
By contrast, the Liberal Democrats - crucially on a national as well as local level - will this week confirm that we are maintaining our long-running opposition to Heathrow expansion. Whatever the Davies Commission has to say, the party policy will stay the same.
In 2012, Mr Goldsmith gave an interview to the BBC’s World At One on 3rd September 2012, during which he said, in comments also published in the Daily Telegraph:
"I think if we enter the next election with a manifesto which does not rule out expansion of Heathrow I think the Conservative party will be very badly defeated in areas beneath the flight path. I personally would not want to stand as a Conservative candidate on a manifesto that is ambiguous on this issue."
Robin Meltzer commented:
"The manifesto from the Conservatives today is the very definition of ambiguous. Mr Goldsmith has failed to influence his own party and the result is that his own party's manifesto now runs contrary to what he has made his central issue. His party do not listen to him. He would provide no break whatsoever on a Conservative majority government intent on expanding Heathrow airport.
"If Zac Goldsmith wants to turn his warm words about restoring a sense of honour and trust to politics, he needs to step aside as the Conservative candidate - just as he said he would.
"It is only by having Liberal Democrat MPs in the next government that we can continue to stop Heathrow expansion.
"When the Davis Commission was established - at the request of George Osborne and David Cameron - the Liberal Democrats insisted that the parties should seek a fresh electoral mandate opposing Heathrow expansion rather than allow the Davis Commission to pre-empt the outcome before this election. My party and I are seeking that mandate at this election; the Conservatives are not."