Archive for the 'Heathrow' Category


TMay deserves to be congratulated for at least making a decision on LHR

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

The PM’s winning streak continues

By a walloping Commons majority last night, 415 votes to 119, the ongoing procrastination over the expansion of Heathrow has been resolved and at last the indecision over the airport’s future is over.

That it should have taken so long for it to get to this stage says a lot about big infrastructure decision making in the UK – remember how the Channel Tunnel was opened in December 1993 but it took fifteen years before the high speed rail link to London was finally operational.

Those who bet at evens that the third runway would be agreed will soon be getting their winnings.

What is striking is that the decision should come from a government headed by a woman who is said to back away from making decisions. Well on this one she has done something that Cameron failed to do causing years of delay.

Having spent a large part of my life living under the flight-path in south west London I am only too aware of how strong feeling is about the airport. Yet approving the expansion there was really the only alternative.

In the end it was Labour giving its MPs a free vote on the issue and with UNITE strongly backing the plan this meant that it was going to get through. As it turned out the Labour vote split 110 to 94 in favour. There were just 8 CON MPs who voted against.

Mike Smithson


Of all the Westminster constituencies affected by Heathrow Richmond Park is where there’s the most opposition

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Maybe this is a reflection of Goldsmith’s campaigning

Back in July, just after TMay took over at Number 10, Populus carried out a big series of phone polls in constituencies most affected by the then proposed expansion of Heathrow. The data is in the chart above.

What is striking that in all but two of the seats polled there was net support for the expansion not opposition. Perhaps this is an indication of the huge contribution to the local economy of Britain’s leading airport. Tens of thousands of jobs are directly linked to Heathrow and people see this as a positive rather than the associated environmental issues.

There are just two exceptions: Twickenham and Richmond Park where the by-election takes place on December 1st. My guess, and I spent a large part of my life living in the area, is that in these two seats the level of Heathrow-linked employment is lowest.

But there’s also another explanation and that is Zac Goldsmith himself. The billionaire’s son and old Etonian has always had a high profile on Heathrow and maybe the polling is reflecting that.

What is perhaps surprising is that even in Richmond Park just 52% said they were opposed to the expansion. So Heathrow has resonance but maybe not quite as much as is assumed.

Mike Smithson


The PB Polling Matters TV Show & Podcast: Brexit, Zac’s by-election, UKIP’s leadership and whether LAB has a polling floor

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Detailed analysis of the issues and the numbers

A huge amount has happened in UK politics since the last show two weeks ago and joining Keiran Pedley (@KeiranPedley) are Asa Bennett (@AsaBenn) of the Telegraph and Leo Barasi (@leobarasi) of

BREXIT still totally dominates UK politics and the programme seeks to look at its likely impact in the by-election and, of course, the impact on the differents part of the UK.

Another area for analysis is Labour’s polling plight and whether there is a floor. Also in the show is a look at the UKIP leadership fight and the prospects for a Stop Brexit party.

Update – The audio only version of the podcast is available below.

Mike Smithson


UPDATED Heathrow expansion to go ahead: Zac Goldsmith resigns

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016


As had been widely predicted Theresa May’s government has decided to go ahead with the expansion of Heathrow. A third runway will be added to the two that have been in place there for 70 years. A short time ago Zac Goldsmith announced that he was quitting his Richmond Park seat.

The immediate political interest is what is the Richmond Park CON MP and 2016 Mayoral candidate, Zac Goldsmith, going to do. He has long threatened to resign thus producing a by-election. He’s made it known that he wants to talk to his constituents first and will be announcing his intentions tonight.

    It was hard to see how in view of his past position he could do other than carry out his threat.

The immediate political interest is the by election in Richmond Park. Until 2010 large parts of his seat were in Lib Dem hands and after Witney the yellows must feel that they have a chance of winning. Zac might stand as an anti-LHR Independent in which case it is not clear what the Tories would do. It is hard to see them giving him a free ride.

The LDs require a swing a fraction more than they achieved in Witney last week to win. They start, though, in a better tactical position having been second at GE2015.

The by election will be about BREXIT as well as LHR3 and the seat recorded one of the biggest REMAIN totals anywhere in the UK on June 23rd.

I’d make the LDs the favourite.

Mike Smithson


After decades we should be getting the Heathrow expansion decision tomorrow

Monday, October 24th, 2016


Whatever the political fireworks will begin

It has been an awful long time coming but we are promised that the long awaited decision on the expansion of Heathrow will come tomorrow.

It’s reported that TMay and other ministers on the airport subcommittee will meet before cabinet. It is being speculated that we could get an announcement before the markets open because it is felt that this is so politically sensitive.

Theresa May herself will make a Commons statement at 12.30.

All the signs are that the plan chosen will be one of the Heathrow options.

No doubt one of the first people to respond will the Richmond Park CON MP, Zac Goldsmith, who has threatened to resign his seat and force a by-election if LH3 goes ahead.

Mike Smithson