There is some irony in David Cameron giving a speech claiming that ‘this is a government that delivers’ on the day that Number 10 effectively concedes that he will not be delivering his decision on airport expansion as planned by the end of this year. At the lobby briefing this morning, the Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said he would ‘present a clear direction’ on airports policy by the end of the year, which is different to a clear decision.
The spokeswoman insisted that the government was committed to ‘providing the next step forward by the end of the year’ but that the press shouldn’t get lost in semantics.
The delay is reportedly down to concerns about air quality and a political sensitivity from the PM, both over his own ‘no ifs, no buts’ pledge about no third runway at Heathrow, and also over the 2016 Mayoral contest, in which the Tories will be represented by anti-Heathrow expansion Zac Goldsmith.
In some cases, being a government that delivers decisions, let alone actually getting things done, is rather hard.