On Bank Holiday Monday, Lord Adonis was interviewed by the BBC Today program, claiming
“There’s been endless dither and delay, no one is gripping this, no one is driving it forward. There should have been a bill for HS2 in the Queen’s Speech when instead we’re apparently going to be spending month after month debating House of Lords reform.”
Reacting to the comments, Stop HS2 chair Penny Gaines said
“Maybe had Lord Adonis spent a bit longer on the basics of the HS2 project, there might be someone in the Coalition government willing to push his pet scheme. However given he hastily announced HS2 a couple of months before the last election was required to be called – an election he did not need to contest – perhaps he was afraid his plans for his folly would not see the light of day if HS2 Ltd did not rush the plans.
“Since Adonis announced the HS2 proposal, the benefit cost ratio has several times, bringing into question the entire rationale for the project. With the growth of digital technologies – encouraged by current Government policies – reducing the amount of long distance travellors, HS2 is becoming increasingly untenable.
“It looks like Lord Adonis doesn’t care if HS2 is the right project for the nation, he just seems to want someone to build his folly, with other people’s money.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin added;
“We’ve always known it was a tight Parliamentary timetable to get HS2 through as a hybrid bill in a year and a half, but it was Andrew Adonis who set that timetable, when he originally announced in the last few weeks of a dying Labour Government. He might be right that the Coalition Government are getting cold feet, but that simply shows that they are paying attention to the falling apart business case, with strong criticism from the Public Accounts Committee and the Major Project Authority.
“The scrutiny that HS2 is under at the moment proves that the project is badly thought through, will be a financial disaster and we simply cannot afford to make such a gargantuan mistake when the country is best.
“While Parliamentary reform is a red herring, Andrew Adonis is the perfect example of why there might be a need to reform the House of Lords. As a former spin doctor he forced cabinet minister Estelle Morris out of the Department of Education, forced through university tuition fees and top-up fees from the shadows and then was made a Lord and put into the Department for Transport simply to get HS2 going, without any analysis whatsoever of whether it was the best thing for the country.
Stop HS2 director, Shirley Judges said
Adonis has never been elected – he was one of Tony Blair’s ‘s cronies and handed a job in government never having stood for so much as a Parish Council as far as we can see. He’s a railway buff and his aspiration is to be like Brunel and remembered for building a railway – the fact that it is unnecessary has nothing to do with it. He dumped Network Rails’ proposals and the Eddington Report and rushed through the HS2 proposals so that they would be out before the General Election, just so that they had his name on them. They weren’t properly thought through and alternatives, including a lower speed weren’t considered. Yet now, still unelected and a member of the party that lost the last election, he’s trying to interfere. He should butt out, he’s done enough damage – not least to the railway network which is losing investment because of the cost of HS2.