Mark Leftly: Costs to be factored in to London’s airport solution


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The Independent Online

Westminster Outlook A couple of weeks ago this column revealed that spinners from the Tony Blair years are locked in a slowly simmering battle over the expansion of Britain’s airports.

A quick recap: Godric Smith, the former prime minister’s official spokesman during his second term, in the early noughties, is pushing for a £7bn second runway at Gatwick. On the side of Heathrow are two figures from the “Things can only get better”  days of the 1990s, Alan Barnard and John Braggins.

And it is the mention of this latter vintage that has raised an eyebrow or two in the shadow Cabinet. A senior Labour source wonders just how much Mr Barnard’s and Mr Braggins’ agency, BBM, is being paid by the Back Heathrow campaign.

“BBM did some work for us again a little while ago – we certainly didn’t get mates’ rates,” the source laughs, albeit a little falsely.

That also makes you wonder just how much money will be wasted on campaigning, polling and PR when it really is time to get Heathrow’s damn third runway built.