HS2: Buckinghamshire

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:12 pm on 29th April 2019.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield 5:12 pm, 29th April 2019

I have sympathy for the Minister as a junior Minister being handed what looks increasingly like a poisoned chalice. I am also sympathetic to the fact that we cannot have an infrastructure project without environmental consequences. But does the Minister not understand that there is mounting disquiet about two things that are linked? First, the conduct of this project by HS2 is a shambles. It is particularly shambolic in its relations with local communities and in the fact that it takes a cavalier approach to any sort of engagement, including in closing down a nature reserve on the edge of my constituency and that of my right hon. Friend Mr Hurd without any warning or notice at all.

Meanwhile, the costs escalate. I ask the question that my hon. Friend did not answer: is HS2 still being flagged as an amber-red warning? All the evidence suggests that the cost-benefit analysis is just not there. If that is the case, that should be of great concern across the House. My hon. Friend says we should keep politics out of it, but, forgive me, this is actually what politics is about: our collectively in this House paying some attention to whether public funds are being properly spent or not.