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Editor’s comment: Time fast approaching for Mr Lidington to stand up and be counted over HS2

Editors Comment - Roger Hawes - The Bucks Herald

Editors Comment - Roger Hawes - The Bucks Herald

  • by Bucks Herald editor Roger Hawes
 

MP David Lidington must be cursing the day PM David Cameron decided to back plans for a new high speed rail line.

The biggest national project for 100 years, costing billions of pounds, ripping through areas of outstanding beauty, blighting communities and benefiting so few.

All highly controversial and guaranteed to become a political minefield and all on his watch in the affluent Tory stronghold of Bucks.

You can imagine Mr Lidington’s dilemma, being pulled in both directions by a government determined (in public at least) to see HS2 through to the end.

On one side there are voters in his constituency up in arms over this project demanding their MP stand up for those who voted for him or face a general election backlash. On the other there is Lidington’s personal career prospects as Minister for Europe at stake. Here toeing the party line is the only option to stay in the job.

In the past Mr Lidington has managed to be conveniently out of the country when key votes in the commons on HS2 are required.

That was the case last week when our MP was in Oslo during the second vote on the controversial Paving Bill which saw the government get yet another big majority backing HS2.

Of course these trips are politically staged managed to make sure government ministers avoid these difficult situations and in the past Mr Lidington has headed off his critics saying he is best serving the voters by remaining in the Government where he can hold more influence.

But how long can our MP maintain this strategy and is it morally the right thing to do? As the politics begins to shift with HS2 and more and more politicians come out against it, can Mr Lidington continue to sit on his hands?

Many suggest he may well be facing a voters’ backlash at the next election for sitting on the fence but with a 12,000+ majority he could still hold the upper hand.

For me the question is one of honest democracy. Mr Lidington has been voted in as an MP by the people of Aylesbury Vale in the first instance – not Minister for Europe. So perhaps the time is fast approaching that our MP should stand up and be counted. Yes, Mr Lidington you may well face a career break but at least you will remain our respected MP for many years to come.

Just a thought for next year, David.

 

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