Boris seizes on post-Olympics euphoria to demand new airport

London Mayor Boris Johnson has re-ignited the political debate over the need for a Thames Estuary airport for the capital with an attack on government inertia over UK aviation policy.

“The government needs to stop pussyfooting around,” urged Johnson, who favours a four-runway hub built on the Thames.

In an interview in the London Evening Standard yesterday, Johnson said he used the Olympics closing ceremony euphoria, which he attended with Prime Minister David Cameron, to push his vision for a new London hub.

Johnson branded the government’s decision to delay the publication of a consultation into Britain’s airports until after the next election as totally mad.

“I don’t think you can rely on Heathrow. Even if the government was so mad and wrong to do the third runway or mixed mode [mixing take-offs and landings on the same runways] those solutions would rapidly run out of usefulness and time.”

Johnson insisted that chancellor George Osborne is “very much” up for big infrastructure projects such as an airport in the Thames Estuary.

But the Prime Minister has yet to be convinced, and Johnson blamed the “institutional inertia of the government”.

However other senior Tories have come to the defence of the government and the Prime Minister. Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight last night work and pensions secretary Ian Duncan-Smith said “Boris is wrong”.

“The Prime Minister and the chancellor do not sit there twiddling their thumbs,” he added.

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