The House of Commons has approved the new runway at Heathrow Airport, costing £14 billion according to the BBC, however, Boris Johnson missed the vote, after previously stating that he would lie down in front of the bulldozers to block the attempted building of a third runway.

The reason for Mr Johnson’s absence is due to government ministers being bound by what is known as ‘collective responsibility’, meaning that they must all support the same policies.

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Having made a pledge to his constituents in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, it was perceived best by Mrs May and Mr Johnson, that although a senior Cabinet minister could not defy his own government’s policy position, that he would not seemingly go against his word to his constituents and thus Mr Johnson did not attend the vote due to a prior engagement abroad.

Johnson says resignation would prove nothing

According to Sky News, Boris Johnson has defended his decision to not vote against Heathrow expansion by saying “my resignation would have achieved absolutely nothing”. However, the former Trade Minister, Greg Hands MP, resigned from the government over the issue after making similar pledges to his constituents.

Talking about his resignation, Greg Hands stated that he resigned on a matter on principle. He told the BBC that he felt the people wanted honest politicians who kept their promises and that he could not, in all conscience, vote with the government. A senior Tory backbencher Dr Sarah Wollaston has called for Mr Johnson to resign over the issue and carry out his promise to vote against the third runway and keep his word to the people.

Historic decision

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling called the vote “the biggest transport decision in a generation”, as reported by Sky News and stated that the government was merely carrying out a manifesto promise to the people to expand Heathrow.

Forecasters estimate the expansion to cost roughly £14 billion and will lead to the demolishing of homes in Sipson, Longford and Harmondsworth. As well as these drawbacks, other opponents to the expansion, such as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, attack the plan on environmental grounds.

The plan for the new runway, which was decided upon by the Government earlier this year, would increase Heathrow’s capacity from 85.5 million passengers to 130 million passengers and the government believes the scheme will create 100,00 new jobs as well as improve transport links between UK cities.

Factions show in Tory Party

With Boris Johnson once again disagreeing with major government policy, some backbench Tory MPs are starting to question the benefit of having Mr Johnson in the Cabinet at all. The main reason the Prime minister originally appointed him as Foreign Secretary was to try and cement her own position as leader of the party by compromising with powerful Brexiteer’s in her ranks.

However, with Boris Johnson now undermining Mrs May on Heathrow, as well as not towing the party line on Brexit, it has led some to believe that Theresa May should bite the bullet and relieve the Foreign Secretary of his duties, while others are calling on Mr Johnson to quit the Cabinet in order to make a formal leadership bid.

Yet with the Prime minister in such a weak position as her colleagues diverge from their once unified stance on Brexit, she cannot risk sacking Mr Johnson and with Boris unsure of just how much support he has within the Conservative party, it looks set that these two political heavyweights will have to continue to battle it out behind closed doors.