FORMER Minister Cheryl Gillan has demanded answers from the Government over the 'shoddy' handling of the High Speed 2 consultation.

As reported by the BFP earlier this year hundreds of responses were omitted from the original analysis.

The error has been lambasted by Chesham and Amersham MP Mrs Gillan, who was recently sacked as a Minister.

She has now written to Transport Secretary Norman Baker asking for a fresh consultation to take place.

It follows a Commons written statement from Mr Baker, which said further errors in the consultation process had been identified since July when it was announced that more than 400 responses had not been examined by analysts Dialogue by Design.

Mr Baker said in a statement: "The cause has been identified as technical errors in transferring data captured from online consultation responses to the consultation analysis database held by DbyD." But he added: "Inclusion in the original analysis would not have changed the substance of DbyD's findings, nor affected the considerations which informed the decisions following the consultation."

Mrs Gillan said: "The HS2 project is in disarray. How on earth can the public have confidence in the process which has failed even to analyse correctly the original responses to the public consultation?

"I have written to the Department for Transport asking for an explanation and want to know what the contractual position is with Dialogue by Design, whether they will be facing penalties for this shoddy performance and if the Government will now re-run the consultation."

The total cost of the scheme is about £33bn and campaigners say it is unaffordable and poor value for money.

The Government believes it will bridge the north-south divide, bring much needed extra capacity to the rail network and significant economic benefits.