Boris denies ‘cloud cuckoo land’ plot against PM

By staff

Reports that Boris Johnson might challenge David Cameron by returning to the Commons have been dismissed as "cloud cuckoo land".

The mayor of London had reportedly discussed the possibility of his taking Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith's safe Richmond seat in order to challenge moves towards the third runway.

Such a development would be bad news for the prime minister, whose leadership has been increasingly undermined by Johnson's prominence during the Olympics. His decision last week to replace Justine Greening as transport secretary, a move many have interpreted as a precursor to a U-turn on the construction of a third runway at Heathrow, triggered intense anger from Johnson.

"This is all complete cloud cuckoo land," the mayor declared in an interview on LBC radio this morning.

"Of course I've had conversations with Zac and with other MPs in London and elsewhere about how to solve the aviation problem.

"I'm absolutely not going to be returning to parliament, I've got to do a job here in London and that's what I want to do and it's a massive, engrossing job."

Johnson is not going to accept the government's approach to the third runway question without taking action, himself, however.

On Friday new transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced a review of Britain's aviation strategy, considering a range of options including expanding capacity in the country's regional airports or building a runway at another airport near London. It will be chaired by former Financial Services Authority boss Howard Davis and report by 2015. Johnson has dismissed the review as a "fudge-orama".

The coalition's review effectively puts off a final decision on where a new runway will go until after the next general election. Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show yesterday that a "very formidable political coalition" existed to block further expansion at Heathrow.

That has not stopped Johnson from launching his own rival inquiry in the meantime. His probe will be completed within a year and specifically not include the Heathrow third runway option.