Stop HS2 commented following the second reading on the HS2 Phase 2a Bill.
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said
“Over half of MPs abstained on this vote on the second reading. In the past they have been heavily whipped to vote, but this time they stayed away. It’s clear the shine is fading from HS2, and that MPs have higher priorities then this overpriced vanity project.
“There were some really good impassioned speeches from MPs across the house, including Cheryl Gillan, Michael Fabricant, Gareth Snell, Maggie Throop and Bill Cash. And it was disappointing was that both the new transport minister and her shadow counterpart were woefully lacking in a willingness to scrutinise HS2. HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport have been repeatedly found wanting over misleading statistics, environmental issues and community engagement, and yet the new frontbenchers seemed to take everything they say at face value.
“In particular, there were some shocking examples given by MPs of the treatment their constituents have had from HS2 Ltd. These include delayed compensation payments from HS2 Ltd, a lack of information, HS2 Ltd changing their mind overnight about how much of someone’s property they want. The minister talked at the end about holding HS2 Ltd to ‘extremely high standards’ in engagement, but frankly we’ve heard that before several times. HS2 Ltd act more like cowboy buildings than a government owned company.
“Although this vote was passed, this is still the wrong project. With a current budget of £55.6 bn it is hugely expensive, but a number of MPs raised the point that there are huge numbers of extra nfrastructure that is needed for HS2 that is not included. We call on the government to look properly at HS2 and then to cancel it.”
The bill passed 295 to 12