Boris Johnson
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson opposes a third runway at Heathrow Airport Getty

Britain's bombastic Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will not quit the cabinet over the government's reported plans to give Heathrow Airport expansion a green light, it emerged yesterday (9 October).

Johnson's London seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip is expected to be impacted by the building of a third runway at the site.

But the senior Conservative and Education Secretary Justine Greening, who also serves as the MP for Putney, will not resign from the cabinet, according to The Sunday Times.

Former mayor of London hopeful and Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith, however, has promised to quit the House of Commons and trigger a by-election if Theresa May backs the expansion.

The Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, recommended the construction of a third runway at Heathrow in a bid to increase the UK's airport capacity.

A final decision was stalled under David Cameron's premiership, amid a backlash from west London MPs and campaign groups.

But new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has indicated that he wants to "move rapidly" on the issue to provide British businesses more certainty in the wake of the EU referendum.

In light of the news that Johnson will not quit the government if a third Heathrow runway gets the go ahead, IBTimes UK looks at the former mayor of London's changing language on the issue.


What Johnson reportedly told London Labour MP John McDonnell ahead of the 2015 general election:

"I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that third runway."

Johnson won't quit the Commons

Just days after his re-election to parliament, Johnson ruled out quitting the Commons over the Heathrow issue.

"No, I think I'd be better off staying in parliament to fight the case, frankly," he told LBC Radio on 12 May.

No bulldozer-blocking from Boris

Johnson later U-turned over his plans to directly protest the building of a third Heathrow runway in a 1 July interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

"I don't think my services as a bulldozer-blocker will be required for decades, if ever, because I don't think this is going to happen."

A 'catastrophic red herring'

Boris goes full-on Boris during an interview with The Times, published on 31 July 2015.

"... It is why a third runway is no more than a ginormous, short-sighted and environmentally catastrophic red herring slap bang in the western suburbs of our city."

City Hall stance

Johnson, then mayor of London, reacts to Davies' airport expansion report, in a 7 September 2015 press release:

"The Airports Commission has spent several years in the production of a gigantic ball of wool that they are now attempting to pull over the eyes of the nation.

"The figures teased out of their report on the fall in domestic and even long-haul connectivity show that as a nation, by expanding Heathrow, we would merely be investing in decline.

"Their report very clearly shows that a third runway will fail both London and the UK on every level."