MPs denied Locus standi

In a rather bizarre ruling, the House of Lords HS2 committee have denied MPs the right to appear in front of them in their own right.

The MPs who had had their Locus Standi challenged are Cheryl Gillan MP ( Chesham and Amersham), Craig Tracey MP (North Warwickshire), the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP (Meriden), Jeremy Wright MP (Kenilworth and Southam), Andrea Leadsom MP (South Northamptonshire), the Rt Hon John Bercow MP (Buckingham), David Lidington MP (Aylesbury) and Nick Hurd MP (Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner).

The committee cited three MPs who had been able to speak in front of the Lords on previous Hybrid Bills – including Theresa May – but no examples of MPs who had been refused Locus Standi.  The ruling says that these examples had been found by counsel for HS2, Tim Mould, after the Committee’s hearing last week.

The Lords committee had searched back to the Victorian period for examples – and had found cases where members of the House of Lords had been petitioners in both the House of Lords and House of Commons, but not MPs.

The ruling spoke of the review of petitioning currently being undertaken, making it clear that whatever decision had been reached by this committee could have been changed for future bills.

Stop HS2 have already written of our concern about the sheer number of Locus Standi challenges, especially as we had heard that the Lords committee had asked HS2 Ltd to make the Locus Standi challenges.

As the committee themselves noted, the petitioning procedures are currently under review: if the MPs had not been challenged before this committee, it would have been easy for the review process to make a contrary decision.

What’s more this decision seems to go against statements in the House of Lords during the HS2 debate in April, when Lord Stevenson of Balmacara said

“In a representative democracy, there are limited opportunities for individual citizens to be engaged in the parliamentary process. The hybrid Bill processes in Parliament provide an important and valuable opportunity for ordinary citizens to protect their private interests when these are being engaged by powerful private and public organisations. However inconvenient for the Government, Parliament must never abuse the trust placed in us by so many people.“

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin responded:

“This decision from the House of Lords committee, that in effect MPs cannot represent their constituents, goes completely against all concepts of natural justice and is a very sorry state of affairs. The job of MPs is to represent their constituents, and with HS2 being the biggest single issue in these constituencies, they have basically been banned from doing their jobs.”

 

“This sends a very clear message to those affected by HS2 that the Lords Committee is not really interested in hearing genuine concerns about the project, but just wants to complete the process as quickly as possible, and do not seem to be interested in their supposed primary role to properly scrutinise the plans.”

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2 comments on “MPs denied Locus standi
  1. it’s strongly rumoured that it was the House of Lords that begged HS2 Ltd. to challenge as many petitions as possible, poor things they do not wish too much work, despite up to £300 per day.
    Also, as only £2bn. of cost overruns tied down, official cost now is £63bn., but the cost envelope is only £55.7bn., not to mention the inconvenience of the Review Point 1 not being passed…..

  2. HS2 in scheme and execution has parallels to the disastrous Parliamentary Process as revealed by Chilcot over Iraq.
    Parliamentarians who do not listen to the populace, who know better but are essentially ill informed,too lazy to interrogate ‘the facts’ and swayed by vested interest/lobby groups.
    Iraq was a grand military project ill conceived and poorly planned. HS2 will be shown to be the same.
    People won’t die but the scheme risks the environment and quality of life. It was designed to prevent the expansion of Heathrow and link to Heathrow and HS1.It fails. The issue of Scottish Independence has not been reviewed in the context of HS2.
    We just do not know the full vested interests of those who promulgate the scheme . When it fails Parliament will ring its hands and say “we were miss informed…how could we know?
    The blocking of a democratic voice by the Locus Standi challenge is yet more evidence . This is no longer the thin end of the wedge of democratic failure regarding HS2.
    We know live in a pseudo democracy of elites working on behalf of elites. Heathrow expansion and HS2 are clear examples.

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