Hundreds of Stop HS2 campaigners will be descending on Parliament today to call on MPs to vote against the HS2 Hybrid Bill at second reading, warning every single vote for the bill will mean a loss of hundreds of votes at the next General Election. Whatever happens, the campaign will go on as campaigners will prepare for petitioning against the Bill, a Judicial Review into the non-publication of critical reports on HS2, and ensuring that HS2 becomes an even more toxic issue in the run up to the May 2015 General Election.
Campaigners will be demonstrating in Old Palace Yard from 12-2, before going in to Parliament to meet with MPs. If you cannot come along, you can ring your MP via the House of Commons switchboard on 0207 219 3000, or email them via www.highspeedrail.org.uk. As the vote is not expected to happen until 10pm at the earliest, there is plenty of opportunity to turn up and meet your MP or to ring them up.
The veto which has been used to block the publication of critical HS2 reports has never before been used concerning a piece of legislation, prior to the vote on it taking place. In this respect, the Stop HS2 campaign contends that the Government will be creating a dangerous precedent, knowingly misleading Parliament by non-disclosure of a report from the Major Projects Authority, which the Information Commissioner ruled should be published in the public interests.
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said:
“Everyone knows that the case for HS2 has been fiddled, and there is no better example of this than the fact Government has refused to publish reports on the project, after the Information Commissioner said they had to be released in the public interests. The case for HS2 has kept changing: they said it would be green, but it isn’t; they have said it has a great business case, but it hasn’t; they have said it is needed for capacity, but it doesn’t provide capacity where it is needed; and they have said it will rebalance the economy and develop the North, but the opposite is true. So the question remains, what is HS2 for? The answer is as it always has been for no other reason than political vanity and strong lobbying from those with vested interests in HS2 going ahead. It seems that everyone besides the political elite knows HS2 will be a disaster, so whatever happens today, we will fight on.”
“Many people would hope that in a Parliamentary democracy, MPs would have all the facts available to them, before they are asked to commit such massive expenditure to a project, but that is not how this Government works. Today, we expect that MPs will create a dangerous precedent, knowing that the Government has suppressed critical reports on HS2, the first time a legal ruling to be published will have been vetoed concerning a Bill before Parliament.”
Stop HS2 Chair, Penny Gaines said:
“We are expecting hundreds of campaigners to come down to London to make MPs know their single vote for HS2 will cost them hundreds of votes come the next election. The Government has already wasted millions on HS2, but this will pale into insignificance next to the billions more Government wants to spend. We call on MPs to show some backbone and vote against this incredibly damaging and unnecessary project.”