HS2 was never going to be in the Queen’s Speech this week.
The Government’s plan has been to introduce it towards the end of 2013, meaning it would be included in next year’s Queen’s Speech.
The Sunday Telegraph claimed yesterday that David Cameron “will offer an olive branch to his critics by avoiding Parliamentary legislation on the controversial High Speed 2 rail link”.
This is no olive branch.
There is no delay over HS2.
It is simply David Cameron confirming that the thing he hadn’t intended to do, he won’t do.
There is no way that the HS2 hybrid bill could have been set in front of Parliament any time soon. We’re in the middle of the consultation on the methodology for the Environmental Impact Assessment(EIA). That’s only working out how to do the EIA: the EIA itself takes a minimum of a year.
What is equally galling is the spin from pro-HS2 campaigners whinging about “delay”. That’s a clear case of playing politics with issues that really matter to people.
Examples include Gisela Stuart, MP, on the BBC yesterday. Given that she is Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group for High Speed Rail, one would hope that she had a better idea of the HS2 timetable then she appeared to display on the Sunday Politics show.
Another example is Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce. He too was complaining about ‘delay’: this lack of knowledge of the HS2 proposal is behind much of the support for HS2.
We know that there is huge concern amongst ordinary voters about HS2: we know that Boris Johnson was concerned enough that he voiced his doubts about HS2 the day before his election for London Mayor.
We need to make it clear to David Cameron that HS2 is a bad way of spending £33 billion (or more) of the country’s money. We need to make it clear to him that the electorate have seen though the Department for Transport’s HS2 spin whether it comes from the Prime Minister, or through the Government owned HS2 Ltd.
HS2 must be cancelled, not mere rumours of delay.
Together, we are Stop HS2 and together we will Stop HS2.