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Heathrow expansion 'not likely'

Published 12/05/2015

Boris Johnson's opposition to a new runway at Heathrow is well documented
Boris Johnson's opposition to a new runway at Heathrow is well documented

Boris Johnson said he believed the chances of the new Conservative government backing the expansion of Heathrow was "virtually nil" as he vowed to continue his fight against a new runway in Parliament.

The appointment of the newly-elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip - who also remains London mayor for the next year - to David Cameron's political cabinet was seen by some campaigners as an indication the new administration was leaning towards rival Gatwick for much-needed expansion.

A recommendation as to whether a new runway is built at Gatwick or one of two short-listed runway-expansion plans at Heathrow should go ahead is due in a few weeks' time in a report by the Whitehall-appointed Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies.

The Conservative manifesto committed only to "respond to" its recommendations and Mr Johnson said that if it came out in favour of Heathrow it should be "filed vertically" like others that came to similar conclusions over recent decades.

Asked what was the point of having the commission at all, Mr Johnson told LBC radio: "You may well ask."

"The prospect of expanding Heathrow and putting in a third runway - and then a fourth runway because (they) are very clear that that's what they want - are virtually nil," he said.

"It's not thought through, it's not likely to happen."

He said the capital would "almost certainly have to set up a congestion charge to cope with the extra cars coming in".

Urging ministers to swing behind opposition to Heathrow expansion, he said: "It is for others to man up, to get some cojones and actually to say what they think should happen.

"The truth is that Heathrow is just undeliverable and the sooner we face that the sooner our salvation will come."

Asked if, like fellow Tory MP Zac Goldsmith, he would quit the Commons if the party backed more runways at Heathrow, he said: "I think would be better off staying in Parliament to fight the case.

"I would certainly oppose the expansion of Heathrow, as would every other MP in West London."

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