‘Boris Island’ airport is formally rejected
London Mayor attacks commission’s credibility
IN A hammer blow at the end of a busy week for Boris Johnson, the Airports Commission has scuppered his dream of an estuary airport to replace Heathrow.
Yesterday morning (Tuesday) the commission, looking into runway capacity in the south of England, formally rejected the Mayor of London’s scheme for a Thames Estuary airport, dubbed ‘Boris Island’, principally on grounds of cost and location.
Mr Johnson immediately hit back, telling The Telegraph that the commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, had undermined its own credibility with this and future governments by putting the ‘politically unacceptable’ option of Heathrow expansion back in play.
Now only the two forms of Heathrow expansion – a third runway or extension of the existing two – or another runway at Gatwick Airport remain up for consideration.
Just eight days ago, after returning from a family holiday in Croatia, the mayor had made the long-expected move and submitted his application to be the Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative Association candidate in next year’s general election.
Bookmakers Ladbrokes has announced it had already paid out on bets that the former MP for Henley would represent the Tories in the constituency next May.
But within 48 hours, rumours were circulating that Mr Johnson might be diverted to a somewhat tougher-seeming battle.
Tory defector Douglas Carswell quit his seat in Clacton in a bombshell announcement that he was defecting to UKIP because he wanted to see ‘fundamental change in British politics’, forcing a byelection.
Mr Carswell is popular in Clacton and has said many of the local members will defect with him and easily win him the seat for UKIP.
It seemed for a time that ‘only Boris’ could stop him.
However, Conservative Party sources were soon playing those rumours down, mainly on the grounds of timing.
Uxbridge decides on Friday, September 12 – and Mr Johnson was said not to be keen on the Clacton seat anyway.
For more on this story and the latest on the Uxbridge and South Ruislip selection process, please go to www.getwestlondon.co.uk.
■ HAMMER BLOW: Boris Johnson