Adam Afriyie, Windsor MP, has vowed to fight against plans for a third runway at Heathrow, telling The Observer 'over my dead body'.
In an exclusive interview, the Tory, who was overlooked in Prime Minister David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle, said there is no sensible argument for the world's busiest airport to be expanded.
Mr Afriyie was speaking after opening the Conservative Renewal Conference held at Macdonald Hotel, in High Street, Windsor, on Saturday. He said: "They will build that third runway over my dead body. It doesn't make economic sense and it will cause all sorts of problems with congestion and pollution." Speculation the Government was planning a U-turn on its 'no third-runway' commitment increased after Justine Greening MP, who opposed a third runway, was removed as Secretary for Transport at the start of the month.
North Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith reacted by declaring he would resign if the Government did give the go-ahead, but Mr Afriyie would not commit to a similar move.
He said there needed to be eight or 10 new runways in the south east over the coming decades and one alternative supported was a coastal airport, like the Thames Estuary proposal championed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Mr Afriyie was one of 91 Tories who voted against the Coalition Government's House of Lords reforms in July, and said he had not expected a promotion in the reshuffle.
He added: "I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a shadow minister, but it was quite clear that those of us who stood against the Lords reform would not be given a go this time around.
"There are some things in life that are more important than short-term coalition politics. It is absolutely essential that we stand up for the things we believe in." Mr Afriyie, who has served Windsor since 2007, said he believed David Cameron was doing a 'good job', but had the potential to do a 'great job' if he was leading a Conservative majority Government.