UK 'needs' four-runway airport

The UK needs a four-runway airport if it wants to compete with other European hubs such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris, a report by a think tank said today.

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Boris Johnson to attack David Cameron's aviation policy

London Mayor Boris Johnson will risk the wrath of Prime Minister David Cameron today by highlighting "unnecessary" delays in formulating aviation policy.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson (left) and Prime Minister David Cameron Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Mr Johnson is expected to repeat calls for his Thames Estuary airport scheme, dubbed "Boris island".

In a speech to business leaders, the mayor is likely to be critical of the timescale of the recently announced, Whitehall-commissioned independent report on aviation being headed by former Financial Services Authority chief Sir Howard Davies.

Report: Cameron sacked Spelman because she was 'too old'

David Cameron told former environment secretary Caroline Spelman, 54, part of the reason she was being sacked in the reshuffle was because she was too old, according to the Eastern Daily Press.

Caroline Spelman, 54, lost her job in the Cabinet reshuffle. Credit: Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters

Downing Street denied these claims and said in a statement: "As to whether she [Caroline Spelman] was sacked because she was too old, the answer is no. But I'm not going to go into details of private conversations that the Prime Minister has had with ministers."

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Economy a priority for new Cabinet

David Cameron urged his Government to put all its efforts into kickstarting the stalled economy as he held the first meeting of his new Cabinet.

I think what really matters now with the Cabinet changes, with the extensive Government changes that I have made, is that we really demonstrate that this is a Government that means business.

Every department around this table is actually involved in the effort to get the deficit down and get the economy moving. Every department is an economic department.

Business chief to 'settle Heathrow debate after next election'

The Prime Minister is poised to appoint former business chief Sir Howard Davies to head up an independent commission to recommend whether a new airport is needed or whether Heathrow should be expanded, the Evening Standard reported.

The recommendation would not come until the summer of 2015, after the next election, the newspaper claimed.

This means endless delay. It is ditherama. He [Cameron] must level with the London public.

This is a fig leaf for a U-turn. The Government must come clean. It is a political decision, they can’t hide behind a committee of worthies. This is a classic Whitehall fudge to smuggle in Heathrow by delay.

– Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, told the Evening Standard

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Cross-party commission to be set up amid Heathrow dispute

Potential Heathrow expansion has proved a thorny issue for David Cameron. Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A cross-party commission is due to be announced next week on airport capacity, including the divisive issue of a third runway at Heathrow.

The Prime Minister today tried to quell claims he was preparing a policy U-turn, having cleared known opponents of the runway in his Cabinet reshuffle.

He told the Commons: "While I believe we need to establish a form of review that will bring parties together and make a decision about airport capacity, I will not be breaking my manifesto pledge."

Labour said it had been calling for a cross-party commission for a year, and accused Mr Cameron of "weakness and dither" over the issue.

It remains unclear whether the commission will be asked to make its recommendations before the 2015 election.

No 10: 'No new runway at Heathrow'

Number 10 has ruled out a third runway at Heathrow as they are bound by the deal agreed with the Liberal Democrats to form the Coalition two years ago:

Our position has not changed: the Coalition agreement means that the Government will not build a new runway at Heathrow.

But we have said there is an issue with air capacity in the south-east, so there is now a process to look at this issue.

– Number 10 spokesman

Zac Goldsmith: Heathrow reshuffle sets up policy U-turn

Yet Grant Shapp's party colleague and high-profile critic of the third runway proposals, Zac Goldsmith MP, told the Today programme it was "impossible" to not see the reshuffle at the Department of Transport as one preparing for a policy U-turn.

We haven't just lost Justine Greening from this department, we have also seen Theresa Villiers moved out, both of whom were absolutely rock solid on this issue in terms of defending what is still the Government's line officially.

I think their movement out of the Department of Transport shows the Government is at least trying to open the door to the possibility of a third runway.

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