Boris Johnson has already denied that the work he is carrying out on airport capacity in London is a rival commission to the one set up by the Government and led by Sir Howard Davies. ‘I was a bit flummoxed by that,’ he told LBC this morning. ‘What we’re doing is we are going ahead with our contribution to the Howard Davies commission.’
It doesn’t actually matter whether the Mayor is holding an inquiry called the Johnson Inquiry Into Airports, with its own logo and press launch, or whether he’s actually just calling experts together to develop a detailed submission to the Davies Commission as he suggests he is.
The point is that in nine months’ time, two years before the government’s commission reports, Boris will announce his own solutions to the demand for greater aviation capacity. Submissions to inquiries make as many waves as the inquiries themselves, and he knows that the media will be hungry for something to report from the slow-moving Davies process.
We already know a little of what that submission will include. Boris is not looking at Heathrow as an option for expansion in his own evidence-gathering, and the Telegraph quotes a source saying the Mayor ‘will be full-throated in his opposition to the third runway at Heathrow both in his submission to the Commission and in public’.
Johnson is unlikely to post his submission to Davies quietly and with no fanfare. What will be very interesting is who the MPs are that come out in support of his proposals. Boris has been grooming several reshuffle casualties since last week: many others may think it is expedient to endorse his report when it appears.
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