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Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 5:00 pm, 15th July 2019

They certainly are, and there are also freehold properties. People who own property, as I have just described, are being put under the most intense anxiety, so I understand the reasons that lie behind the principle of new clause 2.

On new clause 4, I made my point in my intervention on the shadow Minister. I simply cannot understand it. Notwithstanding the intention that appears to be behind the first part the new clause—I am grateful to my hon. Friend Michael Fabricant for backing me up on this—it is inconceivable that the report should only come into effect within 12 months of the Act receiving Royal Assent. It is nonsense. I ask Rachael Maskell to note that although I shall vote for the principle of an independent peer review, it will be on the strict understanding that that is without prejudice to my concern that the Act will need to be repealed.

I make this point now and may do so again on Third Reading: we are about to experience a new Government, effectively, with a new Prime Minister, depending on the outcome of the leadership election. The two contenders for the leadership have differing views on HS2: one is in favour and the other says that he wants to put it under review. Although rumours are like bats that fly in the night, the fact is that there are very strong feelings in favour of abandoning this entire project. We understand that it has already cost about £5 billion or £6 billion. That is enough money in itself, but to subject this country to unbelievable havoc as the project goes through constituencies such as mine, with all the attendant problems and anxieties that I have described, and to say, at the same time, that the proposal will go through and that the Labour party, by all accounts, will vote for it seems to be completely at variance with all the evidence and reports—I referred to them in the Westminster Hall debate and on many other occasions—which indicate that this is not a viable project. It was dreamt up by a Labour peer. I am never quite sure what the noble Lord Adonis’s allegiance is these days, but he was certainly a Labour member of the Government when this was proposed, and he deserves to be thoroughly condemned for it.