HS2 contractors have apparently been "coughing over concerned residents", according to a Bucks MP - who says his constituents have reported the "shocking" accusations to him.

Aylesbury MP Rob Butler has written urgently to Mark Thurston, HS2 chief executive, to say he is "extremely concerned" that contractors for the controversial rail project are still working, despite government advice that everyone should stay at home where possible.

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The new MP added that he had been sent photographs that "clearly show contractors are failing to comply with social distancing rules of remaining at least two metres away from any other person at all times".

He said: "I am extremely concerned to hear that your contractors are still working despite the government's clear advice that everybody should stay at home to save lives unless their job is essential to fighting coronavirus.

"This is particularly surprising given that your community engagement teams have cancelled all public meetings with residents stating that 'health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and the communities along the route remains our first priority'.

He added: "What is even more shocking is that I have reports from constituents that contractors have been coughing over concerned residents, some of whom are likely to be in the vulnerable category as defined by the Chief Medical Officer.

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"I am therefore calling on you to suspend all works immediately for the protection of your own staff, contractors and my constituents."

A spokesman for HS2 said they had not seen any evidence of anyone coughing over residents but added that basic health and safety on site is the responsibility of the contractors.

They said: "To date, HS2 Ltd has been working to ensure business critical and key activities at both our sites and offices were kept going, while following NHS and Public Health England guidance.

"We are working closely with our Joint Venture partners, who are responsible for their sites, the health, safety and well-being of their staff and the impact of their work on the adjacent community.

“Over the course of this week and into next, we will be reviewing the majority of works on our construction sites in-line with government advice on dealing with COVID-19”.