James Forsyth

PMQs: It seems that David Cameron has no desire to expand Heathrow

PMQs: It seems that David Cameron has no desire to expand Heathrow
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Will the Tory party be able to come back together again after the EU referendum? Well, today’s PMQs suggested the reason why it should be able to. The Cameron/Corbyn clash was a classic left/right affair and by the end of it, Eurosceptics were cheering Cameron as loudly as anyone else on the Tory benches as he thundered that Labour have a leader ‘who doesn’t believe in Britain’. I suspect that we will also hear again Cameron’s line that Corbyn is a 'small c' conservative who just wants to leave the poor to stew on sink estates while the Tories are the party of home ownership and aspiration.

In the theme of looking to the political future, there was another interesting moment when Cameron responded to a question from Dan Jarvis—the former paratrooper who many Labour MPs hope will be the party’s next leader. Jarvis’s question was about the number of pensioners who die in the winter and it received a noticeably respectful answer from Cameron. I was reminded of the tone which he used to adopt when Alistair Darling asked a question in the Commons in the last parliament.

Perhaps, the most revealing exchange, though, came when Twickenham MP Tania Mathias asked Cameron to pledge never to expand Heathrow until the air pollution problems are addressed. While Cameron didn’t go that far, his reply was strikingly sympathetic in tone. It reinforced my sense that Cameron, who did once pledge never to expand Heathrow, has no desire to approve a third runway.