Yesterday, the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill had its 3rd reading in Parliament after completing the petitioning process. In a surprise to absolutely no-one except a few die-hard anti Hs2 people, it sailed through with a majority of 263 to 17. The 17 who voted against it were the usual rag-bag of MPs who’ve always opposed Hs2. This included disgraced former Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins (who had the whip withdrawn in 2017 after allegations of sexual misconduct and who is still ‘under investigation’) and another of his Brexit supporting ‘chums’, mad Kate Hoey MP, plus Helen Jones, the MP for Warrington North and the other pro-Brexit Labour dinosaur – Dennis Skinner. Also on the list were two Plaid Cymru MPs and 11 Conservatives. Yet again the Tory list featured the same old names. Bone, Fabricant, Cash, Gillan, Bridgen and McVey, plus 5 others. Completely outnumbering them were a cross party selection of 210 Tories, 45 Labour, 6 DUP and 2 Liberal Democrats.
To say it was a walkover would be an understatement! You can find the Hansard record of the debate here. Needless to say, the decision was welcomed by a wide range of political, business and transport groups up and down the country. But what of the anti Hs2 camp? Well, it’s a bit like saying “Don’t mention the war”! There’s been a news black-out from StopHS2, which has been hilarious! There’s no mention of the result on their website, Facebook page or Twitter account. Even more amusing, StopHS2 ‘Chair’, Penny Gaines was live tweeting all the way through the debate. In her usual style, Gaines tried to spin and hype anything negative said about Hs2 by the tiny number of detractors, whilst studiously ignoring anything said by its supporters. Producing over 100 Tweets in that time for her tiny band of 798 followers from her home in Bournemouth (yes, Bournemouth!) she kept up a stream of spin right up to the moment the vote was taken, as you can see here;
Then? Nothing. Absolutely nothing – complete radio silence in fact. She ran away and left people hanging. Well, she would have if there’d been many listening, the maximum she got was 10 retweets! As far as her Twitter thread goes it died just as soon as the result of vote was announced! It’s hilarious! Talk about denial!
So, that’s it folks, the Hs2 Phase 2a bill has passed with a massive majority and now goes on to the Lords, where it’ll also pass with a huge majority as there’s no more opposition to Hs2 there than there is in the Commons! In the meantime, the future of some of the MPs who voted against the bill is ‘interesting’ to say the least! Hoey has announced she’s standing down at the next election – jumping before her solidly Remain constituency deselect her. Hopkins future looks in doubt too. Plus a few of the other Brexit fundamentalists like Gillan & Fabricant could be in for a rough ride if/when Brexit blows up in the faces because of the impossibility of making Unicorns real. The same for Skinner when his constituents wake up to the real damage Brexit will cause. In fact, the correlation between opposition to Hs2 and support for Brexit is unmistakeable, although some prominent Brexiters – including one who previously pulled the wool over Hs2 antis eyes before – Jacob Rees-Mogg, who voted FOR the bill!
It’s only a question of time now before StopHS2 join all the other defunct anti Hs2 groups as historical footnotes – and failures.