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‘Boris Island’ gains very little support amongst MPs

Published:12 November 2012
Fieldwork:8 June - 14 August 2012
Keywords:Air travel, Airport expansion, Boris Johnson, Gatwick, Heathrow, MPs survey, MPs/MP/MSP/AM/MEP, Stansted, Transport
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The expansion of Heathrow Airport, including the building of a third runway, is the most popular option among MPs for increasing airport capacity in the London area when compared to other options, namely the building of new runways at Gatwick or Stansted, or building ‘Boris Island’. According to Ipsos MORI’s study of British Members of Parliament, 46% of MPs surveyed strongly or tend to support the expansion of Heathrow.

This compares to 42% who strongly or tend to support the building of additional runways in Gatwick and 39% in Stansted. The building of a new London Gateway airport in the Thames Estuary was the least popular option among MPs, with only 16% supporting it.

Expanding Heathrow Airport is most popular among Labour MPs, with 50% supporting this option and 21% opposed . However there is strong opposition among Liberal Democrats to this, with 70% opposed to it. More Conservative MPs support the expansion of Heathrow than oppose it (47% versus 39%), but clearly the party is split on this issue.

The creation of a new airport in the Thames Estuary has the highest levels of opposition of the four options among all the main parties – Conservatives 48%; Labour 64%; and Liberal Democrats 80%.

Director at Ipsos MORI’s Reputation Centre, Carl Phillips, said:

“The idea of a ‘London Gateway Airport ’ has been disregarded by the majority of MPs – clearly the Mayor has his work cut out for him if he wants to win support for a new airport. Meanwhile, the option of expanding Heathrow Airport sees MPs polarised, especially across the Conservative benches. Labour MPs are the most likely to support a third runway, but only half support it, while the Liberal Democrats are vehemently opposed. By contrast, the idea of building additional runways at Gatwick and/or Stansted attracts a comparatively strong level of support across the House, but there is no majority view.”
Technical note

93 face to face interviews were conducted amongst MPs (Conservative 38, Labour 44 and Other 11) between 8th June and 14th August 2012. The data has been weighted so that the survey is representative of the House by party allegiance and front/back bench status.
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Carl Phillips
Carl Phillips

Research Director