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By Peter Hoskin
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“I’m
going to continue to lobby for a long-overdue solution to our aviation problem,”
said Boris at ConHome’s rally in his honour last week, “but no one as a result
of that has any cause to doubt my admiration for David Cameron.”

Jogging
through this morning’s newspapers, I wonder whether David Cameron himself has “cause
to doubt” that sentiment — because the way Boris is lobbying for “a
long-overdue solution to our aviation problem” threatens to create all sorts of
problems for the Prime Minister. According to a report
in the Telegraph
, the Mayor of London has made it known that he’s
considering taking the government to court over the current impasse. Here’s a
passage from that report:

“A source
said the Mayor wanted faster progress to be made. A High Court judge could be
asked to review the government’s decision to establish the Davies review, and
the proposed 2015 timetable, on the grounds that the Mayor should have been
more fully consulted, the source said.

Mr Johnson's
official spokesman said: ‘The Mayor made it clear to the Prime Minister he
thinks the Davies Commission's timeframe is far too long. Kicking the issue
into the long grass beyond 2015 only emboldens our European competitors.

‘The Mayor
believes the Government needs to ask the Commission to report next year, not in
three years' time. Equally if the Government were to consider other options
that alleviate the glacial pace of decision making he would of course welcome
that.’”

Much
of this is unsurprising: we already knew that the Mayor wants a speedier
resolution to this mess. But the prospect of a judicial review does make the
situation even more combustive. Whether it’s simply a warning designed to
chivvy the government along by itself or something more than that, it’s an
escalation in this struggle between No.10 and City Hall. And it’s on an issue
that provokes considerable
depth of feeling
amongst Tory backbenchers.

And
that’s not all. Today’s Times also reports
(£)
that Boris is encouraging ministers to think again about their increasingly
embattled plans to loosen the restrictions around home extensions.
Specifically, he’s concerned that it will lead to “garden grabbing” in London,
and a steady paving-over of the capital’s lawns and flowerbeds. Again, this is
a policy that is causing some concern on the backbenches.

Of
course, this is Boris looking out for his own patch, London, as well he might.
But after the truce in Birmingham last week, it’s still a striking juxtaposition
of news stories. One, an expression of doubt about a relatively unsexy growth
policy that Mr Cameron has managed to force through the machinery of Coalition.
The other, a call for a headline-grabbing growth policy — new airport capacity
— that Coalition is making more difficult. It could easily become symbolic of
wider frustrations.

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