It’s late. The debate has gone on for many hours and there’s been some interesting interventions (and some batshit ones too) but finally, the votes were cast at 21:40 tonight. The Phase 2B Hybrid bill has passed 2nd reading by…205 votes to 6! (link).
I’ll write about this in more detail later (when Hansard publishes the transcripts) but it was a many faceted debate. It was clear from the off that the opponents of HS2 (well, the few that are left) had nothing new to say and the MP for Tatton, Esther McVacant set the bar low with her speech which could be best described as ‘batshit’. The Tory MP for Buckingham, Greg Smith, wasn’t much better. He’s a Brexiter and climate changer denier who’s keeping a seat warm on the Transport Select Committee – which is a complete waste of time as it’s clear that despite all the expert witnesses he’s listened to – he’s never learned a thing. Add in Bill Cash MP and Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley and you could see why the anti HS2 camp were in trouble. If these were their ‘big guns’ then it was obvious they were firing blanks!
Worse was to follow when it became clear that some of the MPs who were celebrating the dropping of the Golborne link were actually still in favour of HS2! I suspect the schizophrenia of their position will come back to haunt them as the Govt made it clear they’re still committed to improving rail links to Scotland (and there’s not many routes that line can take).
What was clear was that HS2 still maintains massive cross-party support. Of course there was the usual party-political point-scoring but even so, there was a lot of unanimity – especially amongst Manchester MPs who’re not going to stop agitating for an underground station in the city. It was the same with North Wales corridor MPs, one of whom made a very good speech about maximising the benefits of HS2 by electrifying the North Wales Coast line.
All in all it was an interesting debate as it was clear the opponents of HS2 were maginalised and they knew it.
Here’s the list of those whom voted against HS2. Can you guess what else it is that links many of them together? I’ll reveal it in my expanded blog.
As I’ve been saying for sometime now – stop HS2 is dead…
I’ve a small favour to ask…
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