THANET North MP Roger Gale has been accused of doing a U-turn on his views on proposals for regular night flights at Manston airport. Mr Gale, whose constituency includes Herne Bay as well as large parts of Thanet, wrote to a constituent in April this year saying he did not support night flights at Manston. He wrote to Ros McIntyre:
“I have never supported night flights from Manston and do not propose to do so.”
In a political column on his website last week Mr Gale appeared to express a different view, saying Infratil’s application for regular night flights was “worthy of consideration”. Mr Gale, who has served as an MP for 27 years, used Gale’s View to express his concern about the economic impact of saying no to night flights. He said:
“We need, I think, to be very clear that the consultation relating to night time aircraft movements, due to be independently carried out for Thanet District Council in response to an application by the airport operators, Infratil, will affect the whole future of aviation at Manston and, very possibly, in the South East.”
“I have consistently opposed a free-for-all night flying policy that has been espoused, in the past, by some of Thanet’s councillors of both major political persuasions. I do, however, believe that the proposals now on the table represent a fair consideration of the airport’s likely maximum night time flexibility through to 2018 and very possibly beyond.”
Ms Mcintyre said: “Now that the votes are safely in the bag, Roger Gale is suddenly in favour of night flights.”
We asked Mr Gale to comment. He had not responded as we went to press.