The one bit of political news between Christmas and New Year has been stirred up by Andrew Adonis, who has decided to flounce off the National Infrastructure Commission, where he had been chair.
The unelected Labour peer, Lord Adonis, was of course Transport Secretary at the end of the last Labour government, and in the dying weeks of that Parliament announced HS2 in the last few days before the election had to be called. His other main contribution to politics was to introduce tuition fees when he was Education Secretary: a decision he now thinks he got wrong.
In a letter described variously as “crackers” and “extraordinary“, Adonis raves about HS2 and other extravagant transport plans. Much of the letter is about Brexit: he has previously trundled off to Europe to whinge about it.
What finally got his goat though, appears to be a decision by Chris Grayling to spend money on the wrong sort of trains: the letter condemns the recent bailout of the East Coast rail franchise, on the grounds that Chris Grayling did it differently to Adonis in 2009. The fact that Adonis was a Labour peer, and Grayling a Conservative MP seems to have slipped past Adonis’ radar.
Adonis also says he “stands ready to give evidence to the PAC and other parliamentary committees at their convenience” and “to share with them substantial relevant evidence”. Of course, in a recent evidence session of the Treasury Select Committee, Adonis came out with the extraordinary statement that people in the Chilterns will regret having tunnels because high speed trains “are some of the most beautiful facets of modern life”.
Stop Hs2 are not at all sorry to see him gone, and we hope this means the Commission will now be a little less biased.