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Eco-Tories Admit They Got It Wrong On Heathrow Expansion

Chancellor George Osborne is reportedly pushing for a U-turn over plans for a third runway at Heathrow – a move which threatens to inflame coalition tensions and overturn a key manifesto promise.

The Independent on Sunday reports that Mr Osborne has persuaded David Cameron to place expansion at Heathrow “back on the table”, claiming it is essential to Britain’s economic future.

According to sources, Mr Osborne and Mr Cameron have been convinced of the need to re-examine the issue because overseas leaders and business figures have warned that trade will move elsewhere in the EU unless Heathrow is expanded.

The newspaper understands that Mr Osborne introduced Heathrow as an option for airport expansion at a Cabinet meeting earlier this month.

It claims the move was met with fury from Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, who in opposition campaigned against a third runway.

But Mr Osborne refused to rule out Heathrow expansion because, allies say, it is key to Britain’s “hub status” for flights between Asia and the America, the paper adds.

While building would not take place until after the next election, a strategy review on aviation, coupled with a paper on “hub status”, is due later this summer.

Officials have reportedly been asked to examine a series of other airport options.

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see also Top Tories admit: we got it wrong on third runway at Heathrow