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Downing Street rejects Yeo’s ‘man or mouse’ threat

28 August 2012

Justine Greening will be relieved: Downing Street has just poured cold water on suggestions the government could U-turn on a third runway at Heathrow. At the morning lobby briefing, a Downing Street spokeswoman said:

‘Their stance is as laid out in the Coalition Agreement: that’s not changed. The coalition parties have made a pledge not to have a third runway and that is a pledge that we will keep.’

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She added that the government did not ‘see an argument for a third runway’ but that there was a need to ‘look more broadly at aviation policy’.

It was of course unlikely that Downing Street was going to turn round this morning and say ‘we’ve listened to the concerns of Tim Yeo and we’ve decided to man up and change our policy’. My hunch is that U-turning on Heathrow will be too costly for the Conservatives when it is spelled out so clearly in their own manifesto. It’s not as if they are giving in to something that their coalition partners are demanding, either: the Liberal Democrats are bitterly opposed to any further development at the airport.

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  • anne wotana kaye 1

    Reading the dirt about Tim Yeo in Google, I can’t make up my mind. Is he a man or a rabbit?

  • anne wotana kaye 1

    Surely one doesn’t demand to know whether one’s party leader is a man or a mouse. If Yeo was involved in a plot to remove Cameron there would be a certain logic in his questioning. There is, however, no evidence to support this ‘sabotage’ theory, and it is possibly just the foolish mutterings of a not too bright man. Another possibility could be that Yeo is working for the Milliband crowd, but somehow that doesn’t ring true either.

    • Noa

      Absolutely Anne, your question is an excellent one. Why is Yeo pulling the Profit’s Beard on this issue?
      Personally I place Yeo in the same iinner circle as Prescott, corrupt, greedy and duplicitous. It’s still a level higher than Cameron merits.
      I don’t believe he’s stupid at all. Simply, Cameron has been exposed as a toothless, rather cowardly fellow. Not long to go for this Parliament or its leader, so who cares what he might or might not do to another trougher?

  • MaggieLavan

    Over the weekend news was beginning to leak out about the two Eds. They’re not getting on very well. They differ on policy. Labour are briefing against each other. Squabbles are breaking out.
    So what happens? The BBC in association with the gormless nitwits who infest the Tory back benches take an insult delivered by the despicable Tim Yeo and blow Labour off the front pages with it.

  • Radford_NG

    28 Aug.c.5.20pm. BST…….Cameron here is showing himseilf a man by showing Yeo the yellow card.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Yeo is a nasty piece of work. Doesn’t he make lots of money out of windmills? The usual right wing thing. If Cameron doesn’t do what you want then he lacks courage. A tory party made up of people like Tim Yeo would truly be unelectable at any time.

    • Noa

      Do you object to Yeo making money Fergus, or just him making it out of windmills? Can you say what is a ‘good’ Tory thing to make money from?
      Like Cameron should we encourage Sir Reginald Sheffield?

  • In2minds

    All that Cameron has to do now is stand up to Tim Yeo and John Gummer on the issue of who should bankrupt the nation as the chair of the ‘independent’ Committee on
    Climate Change, set up to advise government on energy policy under the
    Climate Change Act.

    • Natterjack

      ha, Ha ha, hee, hee he, heee hee he, ha haa, ha,haa….

  • itdoesntaddup

    The plain fact is that aviation demand has stalled in the UK: passenger numbers remain below 2007 levels, and the numbers of flights actually declined slightly over the last year. This is of course a response to having the world’s highest air passenger duty charges.

    There would be little point in adding to capacity if the intention is to continue to limit demand by taxation. An attempt to increase capacity should be matched by a promise not to tax demand so harshly. The economy might benefit all round.

    • Dan Grover

      I’m not all that familiar with the airline industry, but if it’s anything like other industries, that fact that we’re not at 100% capacity doesn’t mean that we don’t need more. With trains, the earlier you book your ticket, the cheaper it is (usually). As the train gets more full, the final tickets cost more and more. In most industries, as the supply of something shrinks, the cost goes up, because those selling knowing they can get away with it.

      Of course, I’m not precluding the idea that we may well not need it, just suggesting that the fact we aren’t at 100% capacity doesn’t mean we wouldn’t benefit from greater capacity. Plus, not all airports are equal – Heathrow has fantastic transport links that most other airports don’t have. It’s entirely possible Heathrow be at 99% capacity and Stanstead be at 70%.

      • itdoesntaddup

        Projections of required airport capacity have relied in the past on assuming that passenger numbers would continue to grow at about 7% per year – doubling every decade. We now have half a decade with no growth, so the old assumption is no longer valid.

        • Dan Grover

          But how is that calculated? Afterall, almost no one is talking about building a new airport in Birmingham or Edinburgh – is the number you cite calculated separately by region, or on a national basis?

  • 2trueblue

    Having said that, where do we go on increasing capacity? It is not as if Heathrow is the only option and it can not be ignored. Other countries are well ahead with their forward planning so we are really leaving it a bit late to get our ducks in line. In this instance I do hope there is another plan in the wings.
    Yoe is just an opportunist and a greedy one at that. He needs to be put back in his box.

    • Dan Grover

      I agree – there are so many other options with varying pros and cons that I don;t see the need for them to expend so much political capital by building a third runway at Heathrow (even though I personally wouldn’t mind seeing it).

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