The Major Projects Authority was set up by David Cameron in January 2011 to scrutinise major projects early on. Looking into HS2 is a clear part of their remit.
So it was somewhat of a surprise to hear the name calling by Gisela Stuart MP for Birmingham Edgbaston. She’s saying it’s “mischief making” to want the MPA’s report made public.
However, the amber red rating came out at a Public Accounts Committee – appointed by the House of Commons to examine how taxpayers’ money is spent – when Margaret Hodge, MP asked whether HS2 had been put through the MPA’s gateway process. Steve Gooding, from the Dft said it had, but it took further questioning to get him to admit to the amber red rating.
A number of people – including Dan Byles, MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth, Nikki Sinclaire, MEP for West Midlands, and David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury, have called on the government to publish this report. The current intention is that it will not be released for two years – which will be after the hybrid bill is presented to Parliament.
Gisela Stuart disagrees with these MPs and MEPs – she said to the BBC “I think this is a bit of mischief making by those who are against HS2”.
We think it is the delay in publishing the report which is causing the mischief.
Why is Gisela Stuart not joining these other MPs in calling for the report’s publication? Or does she think that the report puts into question the viability of HS2 at this early stage in the process? And given the enormous cost of HS2 – £17 billion just to build between London and Birmingham – then it is vital to make it public for proper scrutiny.