THIS week, Aylesbury MP David Lidington writes to readers:

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has taken over responsibility for HS2 and Douglas Oakervee, a former chairman of HS2 Ltd, has been asked to carry out a review of the project.

I’ve written to Mr Shapps with a series of questions about the review. What are its terms of reference? Will he be able to recommend scrapping HS2 altogether? How will he take account of ideas, like the Wendover mined tunnel proposal, which would both cut costs and mitigate environmental impact?

This review should take a fresh and rigorous look at the HS2’s business case. I’ve always thought that that case was weak: the claimed economic benefits rested on the assumption that time on the train was not working time and that faster journeys from one office to another would boost the economy.

Now we’re told that the case for HS2 rests on capacity, not speed, and that the trains may run more slowly than planned. And that’s before taking account of how smart devices enabled more work on the train. I can’t help thinking that upgrading wi-fi on main rail routes would be a cheaper and more effective way to improve economic efficiency.

Ideally, Mr Oakervee will be persuaded that there are much better ideas for major investment in transport. In my own view, the priority is better cross-country rail connections, most obviously between the cities of northern England, rather than new lines to London.

But we do need to remember that in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and elsewhere there are influential voices - business, trade unions, local authorities, MPs of all parties - who believe strongly that HS2 will benefit their area. So, we in Bucks must at the same time keep on pressing for improvements if the scheme does go ahead.

I’ve also asked Mr Shapps to revisit the case for an intermediate station between London and Birmingham. At least then local people would get some benefit from improved transport links. And I’ve urged him to press HS2 Ltd for a step change in their communications with residents.