28 August 2012 10:15
A senior Conservative has renewed pressure on David Cameron to approve a third runway at Heathrow, reigniting the long-running debate about creating an international "hub" airport for the UK.
Former minister Tim Yeo, chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, goaded Mr Cameron by asking whether he was "man or mouse" and said the move would give his Government a "sense of mission".
However, transport Secretary Justine Greening admitted she would find it "difficult" to remain in a Government which backed a third runway and the Prime Minister would risk tearing up the Coalition Agreement as well as a damaging split within his own party.
Ms Greening a prominent campaigner against a third runway which she fears would directly affect the quality of life of her constituents in Putney, southwest London, said a third runway would not be "the right thing for Britain" because it would become rapidly outdated and insisted that a wholesale review of air capacity was needed.
The planned runway was opposed by both the Tories and Liberal Democrats at the general election and the Coalition Agreement between the two parties explicitly cancelled the expansion.
Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson also opposes a third runway at Heathrow, favouring instead a new airport in the Thames Estuary to the east of the capital.
The call comes after Housing Minister Grant Shapps warned that a third runway was needed to ensure the UK remained a "great trading nation" and Mr Johnson accused Mr Cameron of "pussyfooting around" on aviation expansion.