4 Sep 2012

McLoughlin’s ‘open mind’ on third runway

The new transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, says he has “a completely open mind” on whether Heathrow needs a third runway. ┬áJust the ticket then!

But unless the PM performs a mighty U-turn and gets the DPM to join him in that U-turn, the most we’re going to get in this parliament is a consultation that includes Heathrow as well as the other options and a new Tory policy for the 2015 manifesto. Isn’t it?

I asked a Treasury source how strongly we can rule out a go-ahead for the third runway in this parliament and got the eliptical response: “Fairly strongly but not definitively.”

Michael Gove will have no ideological issues working with Lib Dem former chief secretary David Laws as a deputy at education. He may find he has to “let go” a little more than comes naturally – a source in the department says he’s tended to run a lot of the show himself and not devolve too much.

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