Spectator readers won’t have been particularly surprised by the FT’s story that Ed Miliband is dropping his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow: James reported that the Labour leader was softening his stance on aviation back in November:

‘Miliband is also determined to avoid a head-on collision with his shadow chancellor. Having put Balls back in his box over HS2, he now seems to be softening his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow. This extra runway is something which Balls regards as vital to Britain’s economy and which the pair fell out over in government.’

But if that softening is continuing apace, Labour isn’t ready to go public with it. I’ve spoken to a party source this morning who said:

‘FT suggestion Labour is changing its position on Heathrow is wrong. Position is unchanged. Ed is sceptical. We await the recommendations of the Davies Commission.’

But if Labour did do this, it would, as James set out in November, represent a point of unity between Ed Balls and Miliband when their relationship is under great scrutiny. It would also be the sort of gesture that would cause a great deal of trouble for the Coalition.

Tags: Aviation, Ed Miliband, Heathrow, Labour, UK politics