Secrecy or mischief making

Recent news coverage has focussed on the amber/red rating given to the HS2 proposal by the Major Projects Authority.

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.

3 comments to “Secrecy or mischief making”
  1. I am sorry to say that this farrago becomes more and more like an episode of Yes Prime Minister with each passing day.
    I do not see the point in presumably paying for a report and then hiding it away until after a load more money is spent/wasted particularly if, as the report suggests, there are potentially insurmountble issues. Surely it is better to publish the report and analyse the problems. Then decide how to deal with them or rethink or indeed cancel the project, It is sheer folly to try and hide it all away particularly if it is that bad. So much for transparency of process!
    I guess that even as we are all being warned about the potential impact of the fresh Eurozone problems and potential meltdown, we will still plough ahead with this huge drain on the little resources we will have left when we are forced to bail out another Euro disaster.

    Oh by the way the only reason that I am sorry (opening sentence) is that at least the characters in Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister made me laugh, this lot just make me despair!!

  2. Lets hope many more MP’s press for it’s release and let’s not forget that they will not release the WCML peak time loadings
    What are they trying to hide?

    • Just about anything that relates to any analysis of the CBR of HS2 and if the money can achieve a better CBR spent in another way or on another project

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