As much as conference planners would wish it otherwise, one of the biggest stories from the Tory conference will be Boris Johnson’s speech and fringe appearance. It would be a surprise if he didn’t take at least one opportunity while in Birmingham to flag up his ongoing campaign against a government U-turn on Heathrow expansion, even if it were an apparently spontaneous answer to a question from a member of the fringe audience. As I reported last week, he has been looking for a Conservative MP to lead that campaign, and the Standard’s Peter Dominiczak then revealed that the Mayor has also approached MPs from other parties.
Today the Mayor appealed to members across the London Assembly to join him in pressuring the government, reminding them at Mayor’s Question Time that many of them had been elected on anti-expansion promises. Arguing that the government would be ‘foolish’ to ‘try to force’ a third runway at Heathrow, Boris said:
‘I will be mobilising and alerting Londoners o the risks of the third runway and what we need to do is to bring the alternative solutions forcibly before the public. At the moment there is an imbalance, because the third runway at Heathrow is the scheme that has been costed, that has been engineered, that has been evaluated, all the designs are there.’
When it comes to conference, though, Boris may need to choose his words a little more carefully. Tory MPs, even those who like to say that they ‘love’ the Mayor, are warning that he could overplay his hand in Birmingham if he does decide to use comedy insults for the government such as ‘fudgerama’.Tags: Aviation, Boris Johnson, Heathrow, London, UK politics