‘Unfinished business’ over Manston airport will see Sir Roger Gale defend Thanet North seat in general election

PUBLISHED: 14:06 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:06 18 April 2017

Returning MP for Thanet North Sir Roger Gale gives his acceptance speech at the Winter Gardens, Margate, Kent, 8th May 2015.

Returning MP for Thanet North Sir Roger Gale gives his acceptance speech at the Winter Gardens, Margate, Kent, 8th May 2015.

Ady Kerry

The Conservative MP, 73, has been at the heart of a long-running battle to get planes flying again on the site

Sir Roger Gale insists there is “unfinished business” over Manston airport and will contest his Thanet North seat again in a general election planned for this summer.

MPs will vote on Theresa May’s announcement tomorrow, and if 66 per cent are in favour, voters will take to the polls on June 8 to elect 17 representatives across Kent and Medway.

Despite being one of the oldest MPs in the House of Commons at 73, Sir Roger, who has represented Thanet North since 1983, insists he will be standing once again in his battle to see planes flying at Manston.

The airport closed in 2014 and the site is currently owned by bosses behind the Stone Hill Park project - which aims to deliver 2,500 homes and leisure facilities, while insisting the area’s history and heritage will be respected and maintained.

However, when Ukip swept to victory in 2015 and claimed control of its first ever council in Thanet, it was, many believe, on an election pledge to re-open the airport.

Council leader Chris Wells has denied making any such promise - a claim rubbished by Sir Roger.

Work is currently ongoing to obtain a development consent order for the site, with RiverOak Strategic Partners expected to submit an application to the government’s planning inspectorate later this year.

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall hinted last week on a visit to Margate that the airport could still have a future, telling us “anything is possible”.

However, Sir Roger said Ukip had let the local electorate down over Manston and expected that to be reflected in upcoming votes.

“I think Ukip will pay a very heavy price in both the county council and general elections, they’re going to be on a bumpy road,” he said.

“They have clearly broken their promise over Manston and as far as I’m concerned, it’s unfinished business.

“There’s no way I’m going to put my feet up until planes are flying again.”

Sir Roger was victorious in 2015 with a 10,948 majority over his closest rival, Ukip’s Piers Wauchope.

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