Yesterday saw the second reading of the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill in the House of Commons.
As I am sure you know, I am opposed to HS2 on numerous grounds and after several years of fighting the project, both from within and outside of Government, it was a watershed moment to finally be able to speak in a dedicated debate and voice the strength of feeling that my constituents have on this subject. However, having only six minutes to speak due to so many MPs wanting to contribute made it tough for me to cover every concern I have with this project.
I made my intention to vote against this Bill clear on my website last week. I also took the opportunity to table a reasoned amendment to the Bill, declining a second reading. Whilst I was of course disappointed to see the Bill voted through to its next Parliamentary stage, this was not surprising given the project’s cross-party support. However, I was pleased to see some of my colleagues from all sides of Parliament joining me to oppose HS2.
I believe this is a deceptively innocuous Bill that serves little practical purpose other than to attempt to sweep all criticisms of this project under the rug and state the apparent will of Parliament.
This is of course not the end but simply the beginning of the Parliamentary process concerning HS2 and I will continue to represent my constituents and their views to the best of my ability.
Please do visit my website, www.cherylgillan.co.uk, to see the latest news and action I am taking on this important issue.
Cheryl Gillan MP