HS2 preparation bill heading to House of Lords

MP Andrea Leadsom at an HS2 roadshow event last month in Upper Boddington
MP Andrea Leadsom at an HS2 roadshow event last month in Upper Boddington

The approval of a bill that will see the first stage of HS2 get under way has been branded as ‘irresponsible’.

MPs voted by 350 to 34 to approve the High Speed (Preparation) Bill in the House of Commons last Thursday.

The bill will release funds to cover the cost of surveys, buy property and compensate residents and businesses that will be evicted to make way for the planned route. Rae Sloan, a Stop HS2 campaigner from Twyford which is on the proposed route, said: “I think it is just irresponsible.

“When you have a budget, and costs keep going up and the benefits are going down, to then to be given a blank cheque without it having to be accounted for is just crazy.

Bicester MP Sir Tony Baldry voted in favour of the bill. He said voting against would have only delayed the process.

Sir Tony said: “The independent hybrid committee will now assess the benefits and disadvantages of HS2 and whether it can be done for £40billion or any amount of money.”

South Northants MP Andrea Leadsom abstained.

She said: “I want to be very clear that having registered my ‘No’ vote to HS2 at Second Reading, it is my intention to abstain on future votes unless my vote will really make a difference to the future of HS2, by which I mean there is a realistic chance of the project being stopped. At the present time this is simply not the case.”

The bill will now go before the House of Lords.