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MPs fail in last ditch bid to block HS2

By Pete Madeley | Politics | Published:

HS2 was savaged over design flaws and inefficiency as MPs launched a failed last ditch bid to block it.

Part of the planned route for HS2 through Staffordshire

Tories' Michael Fabricant, Jeremy Lefroy and Sir Bill Cash were among those to oppose the second phase of the high speed rail project, which will run between through Staffordshire from Birmingham to Crewe.

But they were heavily defeated in the Commons, with MPs voting 297-14 to pass its second reading.

Laying out his opposition to the bill, Lichfield MP Mr Fabricant said the £56bn line would not live up to early promises, such as regular trains running from Birmingham to Paris.

He said travellers hoping to get to France from Lichfield would have to switch between various stations and services to get to their final destination.

"So much for a quick and easy journey from the north-east down to Paris," he told the Commons.

He added that there was a 'blindness about the design of HS2' both from the Government and the Labour frontbench.

Stone MP Sir Bill Cash said HS2 had 'all the hallmarks of a vanity project' and claimed that no proper business case had been laid out.

"This project is about not simply capacity but efficiency, and I do not believe that its objectives will be achieved," he said.

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He told the Commons his objections were concerned with 'the vast impact' on his constituents in Baldwin’s Gate, Bar Hill, Whitmore and Madeley and the surrounding area, and Yarnfield and Stone and surrounding areas.

He added that he was sceptical 'about the Government claims on the benefits of the HS2 scheme in general'.

"Phase 2 of HS2 will also have an immensely destructive effect on the environment," he said, adding: "The preservation of our natural heritage will be jeopardised by this project."

Mr Lefroy, the MP for Stafford, said HS2 would 'certainly will bring benefits to the country, although probably at much more expense than it should and at a huge cost to our constituents'.

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He said: "HS2 is prepared to spend an awful lot of time and money counting bats and various other things, but not talking to my constituents.

"I have constituents who have waited for a visit for a year. These constituents have dairy farms, and HS2 wants to take 100 acres away from their farm, which would make a dairy farm unviable."

He added: "I have a strong objection to the uncertainty and inefficiency with which my constituents have been handled.

"That is not to criticise every single employee of HS2. I have met some extremely good ones. There have been some who I would praise for their work, but there have been others who, I am afraid, have fallen short."

The first phase of HS2 from London to Birmingham's set to open in 2026 with the second launched in two stages, including the line to Crewe which is due to start in 2027.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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