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Gillan: We need more information before HS2 vote
CHERYL Gillan said this week MPs should not be holding a key vote on HS2 without being given the information contained in a report that was controversially withheld by the government.
In a rare move Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin recently vetoed the decision to make the contents of a report by the Major Projects Authority public, saying it was not within the public interest to do so.
But at Business Questions at Parliament on Thursday, Chesham and Amersham MP Mrs Gillan challenged Leader of the House Andrew Lansley on that decision.
She said members would only have 14 days to digest the information given to them ahead of a Second Reading on HS2, before a further debate later in the year.
The former Welsh Secretary called for a debate on the ‘quality and availability of information’ available to MPs before they are asked to make ‘serious decisions’.
Mrs Gillan said: “Will the Leader of the House look at how we can possibly ask Members to make important decisions and vote on Second Readings that are irrevocable when they do not have all the information on the risks involved and the whole project?”
Mr Lansley replied: “It is the responsibility of this House to ensure that the proper assessment is made in of those responses to the consultation before our Second Reading. We have not announced the timetable for Second Reading.
“It is in any case, as the House will understand, a decision in principle on Second Reading, and through the hybrid Bill procedure there will be detailed examination of the Bill that follows.”
Earlier in the day Mrs Gillan had asked Mr McLoughlin at Transport Questions when details of the HS2 compensation scheme would be announced to her constituents – many of whom could be affected by the route of the planned line.
Mr McLoughlin said: “I will attempt to come forward with the conclusions of that consultation as soon as possible. I am in no doubt about the problems faced by many people on the proposed route, and I take those responsibilities very seriously indeed.”
Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Gillan said: “This dreadful situation is hanging over many people’s heads. The Transport Secretary has got to publish and it must be done soon.”