Roger Gale: Paul Carter remarks are “disingenuous”

A statement from Sir Roger Gale MP on Manston Airport, following comments from Kent County Council Leader Paul Carter.

“I understand that at the Kent County Council Conservative Group Meeting yesterday Cllr. Carter suggested that the re-opening of Manston Airport ”was not government policy”. That is at best disingenuous.

The Prime Minister`s personal support for Manston Airport, in response to my own parliamentary questions, is a matter of official parliamentary record.

Prior to the election both the Minister of State for General Aviation (Grant Shapps) and the Minister of State for Aviation with responsibility for Search & Rescue not only visited Manston but made Government support plain. That support has been underscored by the fact that the Government was willing to commission the Price Waterhouse report and in Hayes` determination that Bristows` S & R contract would be for one year only to facilitate a return to the preferred option, Manston.

When Craig Mackinlay and I met with the Secretary of State (Patrick McLaughlin) after the election last month the SoS, who has taken personal responsibility for Manston Airport, indicated very clearly that the Department would seek to ensure that the necessary CAA operating license would be reinstated as soon as possible following a successful compulsory purchase by TDC/RiverOak and the clearly necessary restitution of equipment and facilities stripped out by the present controllers of the site.

If Cllr. Carter feels “marginalised” then that is entirely a situation that is of his own making and arises from his determination to back property developers against the clear wishes of the Government, his own County Council and the electorate of Kent. He has also signally failed to consult with local Members of Parliament both prior to the closure, prior to the announcement of the recent “development plan” and prior to his suggestion that Manston should be used as an interim lorry park.

I would hope and expect that my County Colleagues will back the views of the local, County and national electorates rather than the views of one individual councillor who is out of step with the majority.”