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Sickeningly ill-informed MPs vote through HS2 Hybrid Bill, as Boris talks bollocks, again.

A three-line whip from the Government benches, coupled with a rather apathetic support from Labour, meant that the second reading of the HS2 Hybrid Bill passed yesterday, with over 150 MPs not bothering to vote either way. Not that it looks like anyone cares, but a precedent was created, as for the first time, MPs voted for a Bill knowing that the Government had overturned a legal ruling demanding that documents containing relevant information about the bill, the Major Projects Authority report, be made public.

Stop HS2 Campaigners outside Parliament on 28th April 2014

Stop HS2 Campaigners outside Parliament on 28th April 2014

There will now be a Judicial Review into the non-disclosure of the Major Projects Authority report, publication of which was vetoed by McLoughlin. Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin gave a speech cram-packed with bare faced lies, such as the idea that the UK has only 67 miles of high speed railway, and you can take a high speed train from London to Lille, but not London to Leeds. The reality is that McLoughlin recently posed for photos declaring the Midland Mainline a ‘high speed railway’, as it now fits the international definition, running at 125mph, which the East Coast Mainline from London to Leeds has done for decades. It went downhill from there, with his shadow Mary Creagh quoting figures from HS2 Ltd, which HS2 Ltd themselves have revised down, followed by a procession of MPs who had quote simply got their facts wrong. Amongst the rare gems of informed opposition was unexpected rebel Sir John Randal, who after quoting Churchill, in that MPs should put country first, constituency second and party third said: “I am not putting my constituency first, but my country, as HS2 will destroy too much of it.”. Despite that statement, and the fact that Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett had addressed a Stop HS2 rally outside Parliament, in a typically bizarre move, London Mayor Boris Johnson said of environmental opposition to HS2 that “It’s bollocks. They’re not campaigning for forests, they’re not campaigning for butterflies. They pretend to be obviously, but what they’re really furious about is that their house prices are getting it.”

The London Mayor went on to show he hasn’t got the first clue what he is talking about, claiming that there isn’t a tree in the entire country which is over 200 years old.

Stop HS2 Campaigners outside Parliament on 28th April 2014

Stop HS2 Campaigners outside Parliament on 28th April 2014

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said: “What we saw today undermines democracy at its core. We saw MPs willing to vote for a Bill because their party had told them to do so, knowing they did not all the facts, knowing that a Government report critical which was critical of HS2 was censored, because it would be harder for them to vote for it if everyone knew the truth. Irrespective of what you think of HS2, the fact MPs have said ‘We don’t know and we don’t care’ about a commitment to spend well over the official 2011 cost of £50 billion should have everyone worried about the competency of all the MPs who voted for this bill.” “The MPs who spoke for HS2 were sickeningly ill-informed, and willing to spout anything they had been told to say. Surely some of them at least knew that they were quoting disproven lies, but because they might sound good to people not in possession of the facts they had no shame in saying them. I challenge any MP who spoke for HS2 today to get in a real debate about the project, because I know they will come up short and not be able to deal with the truth.”  “When Boris Johnson says that people who say HS2 is bad for the environment are talking bollocks and only really interested in their house prices, you suspect he is bring a family argument to the national media and is talking about his dad. He clearly isn’t talking about the likes of the Woodland Trust, The Wildlife Trusts or the Green Party. Whilst Boris and his dad may have differing views on the impact of HS2, both my son and I are genuinely concerned about the environmental impacts of HS2, and neither of us own a house, so we know is Boris is talking Bollocks.” “Everyone opposed to HS2 has to keep on fighting. Not only do we want to make HS2 the most toxic issue at the next election, but you have to remember that as Frank Dobson keeps pointing out, that the original plans for HS1 got all the way to committee stage, and the committee threw them out. That is why everyone concerned about HS2 now has to petition against it.” Stop HS2 Chair, Penny Gaines said: “The Government whips have clearly gone into overdrive for fear of a backbench rebellion.  But even with a three-line whip from both the Coalition government and the Labour opposition there were still 150 MPs who abstained.” “Mary Creagh, the shadow Transport Secretary was shockingly ill-informed about the details of HS2.  She used out of date figures for both modal shift and the carbon costs, even though last year HS2 Ltd downgraded both of these last year.  She admitted that she hadn’t actually seen the Major Projects Authority reports which rated HS2 in serious danger of failing. The Labour leadership claim to want close scrutiny of the project in committee stage, while refusing to ask the real question of whether HS2 is in the interests of the nation as a whole”   “However, in committee stage is the way in which HS2 Ltd have ignored the concerns of individuals and groups during the development of their plans will become apparent to MPs.  Even supporters of HS2, like Birmingham City Council are planning to petition about major problems with the plans in Birmingham.”

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11 comments to “Sickeningly ill-informed MPs vote through HS2 Hybrid Bill, as Boris talks bollocks, again.”
  1. Our MPs, tired out from their long Easter break, came back to Parliament on 28 April to face the tiresome task of debating and thinking about HS2 for a whole half day and are now, thanks to their tremendous productivity at dealing with things, less than three weeks later, taking an early Whit break.
    No thought of HS2 need ever pass their minds. No thought of presently peaceful coverts and copses being cut in two. No, thought can now be put to working out whether an investment in razor wire and security fencing will be a good bet or will the seat be safe for that future free on expenses high speed ride?

  2. Lets hope they run out of money after Birmingham and the North can be spared such nonsense. What’s in it for Liverpool and Newcastle? Absolutely pointless.

    • I thought that we were supposed to be the Nimbys in the Chilterns? Let us hope that some sense is shown before phase 1 is started and ruins the AONB.

  3. Despite surface self-confidence, Ms Creagh was woeful on the facts.
    BBC Parliament – from 2hr to 2hr44 into prog.

    Taking Mr McLoughlin’s regular example, she pointed to the supposed “Network Rail £38bn investment programme over the next five years on signalling, platforms…”. My, that’s a lot to spend on such trivia.
    A question for every MP:
    How much is NR investing in CP5?
    (Note for MPs: invest means adding new things such as stations or modifying things such as junctions which improve services – it does not include running costs or wear and tear or paying compensation for delays etc).
    And when will they be sued for this blatant untruth?
    When Mr Straw, trying to make a dig at John Redwood, stated that more is being spent on Reading station than on the whole of the Northern Hub, Ms Creagh thanked him for the reminder and went on:
    “Yes, £6bn on Reading …”. (an easy mistake to make). She herself made a dig at DfT for failings in the electrification prog in Welsh Valleys, though she hoped matters could be resolved happily. So, no “You can’t even do a small simple job in Wales and yet you think you can build HS2?” or “why are you not doing a proper job in the North?” from Ms Creagh.
    How about: “HS2 will be a green spine, creating wildlife corridors…”. Yes, TWO of them with only rats, mice and birds able to cross from one to the other.
    She had not seen the MPA report but would have to ask to take a look – but, no, – that’s a government decision and not her job to ask (looked as if she got a friendly “No” message from the other side).

  4. Listening to 4 hours of the Parliament HS2 debate, prior to last night’s vote proved to me:

    The cost of HS2 isn’t known.

    The need for HS2 isn’t clear.

    The environmental damage of HS2 isn’t understood.

    The connectivity of HS2 isn’t guaranteed.

    • I very much doubt it, ‘NAMELESS’, any more than there was one when the M.3 was carved through St. Catherine’s Hill -despite desperate protests to prevent it, when the then government refused to consider tunnelling rather than driving an enormous gash through the historic chalkland…and does anyone now refuse to traverse the Stokenchurch cutting on the M.40?

      • I remember watching with my dad as the M40 Stokenchurch cutting was being carved, the horror I felt as a 7 year old of seeing the gap at the end of the hills, and I still hate travelling through it!!
        It has caused an increase in traffic and is a route leading to urban congestion

        • i’m sorry, Gloria. I meant to point out before that you don’t need to suffer the grief of driving through the M.40 cutting.

          The old A,40 route,zig zagging down the scarp is still there and even provides a picnic area at the top and woodland walks, not to mention a close up view of the radio tower.

          • I know it well!
            So what comes next to ease the M40 congestion into London, the M25 and Birmingham, because HS2 won’t? M252 outer orbital? More lanes?
            Bringing in more people by train just ups the road congestion. We all need to travel less but are tempted to travel more, at our environmental cost.

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