Justine Greening will be relieved: Downing Street has just poured cold water on suggestions the government could U-turn on a third runway at Heathrow. At the morning lobby briefing, a Downing Street spokeswoman said:
‘Their stance is as laid out in the Coalition Agreement: that’s not changed. The coalition parties have made a pledge not to have a third runway and that is a pledge that we will keep.’
She added that the government did not ‘see an argument for a third runway’ but that there was a need to ‘look more broadly at aviation policy’.
It was of course unlikely that Downing Street was going to turn round this morning and say ‘we’ve listened to the concerns of Tim Yeo and we’ve decided to man up and change our policy’. My hunch is that U-turning on Heathrow will be too costly for the Conservatives when it is spelled out so clearly in their own manifesto. It’s not as if they are giving in to something that their coalition partners are demanding, either: the Liberal Democrats are bitterly opposed to any further development at the airport.