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The HS2 Euston Action Group gave their evidence to the Hs2 Hybrid Bill Committee today – and what a car crash it was too! Presented by Camden’s new MP, Keir Starmer, backed by former MP Frank Dobson & local anti group member Robert Latham, it was halting, incoherent & completely failed to make the case they wanted to – the abandonment of Euston as an Hs2 terminus in favour of halting the line at Old Oak Common.

Starmer was awful. He didn’t seem to understand the case he was trying to make and had no idea about the cross London connectivity issues that are solved by having both Hs2 stations. Put simply, Old Oak Common serves East & West London & Euston serves North & South London.

The Committee looked less than impressed, especially Sir Peter Bottomley who clearly has a far better grasp of the issues than Starmer. Dobson wasn’t much better. His cavalier approach to facts & reliance on supposition didn’t score him any points. As for Latham, he made no impression at all. In contrast Sir Peter Bottomley was excellent. He pointed out that the projections were that only 2 out of 5 Hs2 passengers were expected to use Old Oak Common with the rest using Euston. In his evidence the QC representing Hs2, Timothy Mould gave a far more impressive and informed performance forensically demolishing the antis argument brick by brick – as if it were the former Doric Arch at Euston!

Have a look at the session here;

http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/1a9f4ae3-c26d-4dda-979c-b62cc696f9c0

Once the transcript is out I’ll update this blog as Mould’s tour de force will be worth reading!

After the session was over, Starmer tweeted this;

Starmer

All I can say is – if that shambles was a ‘good’ session it’s not difficult to see why the anti hs2 campaign’s got nowhere in over 5 years!

To be fair to Starmer, he has been put in an impossible situation. The idea of scrapping the Euston Hs2 terminus is so obviously a non-starter I suspect even he knows it’s going to be impossible to sell. He’s been put in that position through no fault of his own but by a crazy cocktail of a Council that’s become hostage to a vociferous minority and the actions of the previous MP, not to mention a few rather upset Labour luvvies. Admittedly, the original Hs1-Hs2 link plans didn’t help as they weren’t well thought out (which is why Higgins dropped them) but that’s history.

Somehow, I can’t see the Hs2 petitioning Committee being persuaded by today’s efforts….

UPDATE.

The transcript of evidence has been published here