A spokesman for the Department for Transport said:
It has been decided by mutual consent that Geoff Muirhead will step down from his role as a member of the Airports Commission. The Secretary of State would like to thank Mr Muirhead for his contribution to this important work.
Mr. Muirhead was appointed to the Airports Commission in October 2012, at which point Manchester Airports Group (MAG) did not own Stansted Airport. MAG has since purchased Stansted and following its submission to the Airports Commission concerning options for the expansion of Stansted Airport, questions have been raised about the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. Although there is no evidence whatsoever of bias towards the MAG submission concerning Stansted, we have agreed that the prudent course is for him not to continue as a Commissioner to avoid any perception of a potential conflict of interest. Both the Secretary of State and Mr. Muirhead are fully committed to the success of the Airports Commission’s work.
We are quite clear that there is no implication against Mr Muirhead’s integrity, which is emphasised by the importance he has placed on maintaining public confidence in the work of the Airports Commission.