Aylesbury MP David Lidington is urging the transport secretary to investigate if flawed assumptions were made in the case for HS2.
The concerns are in light of problems with the West Coast Main Line passenger projections, but hopes that Patrick McLoughlin may rethink the HS2 plans were dealt a blow today when he told the Tory party conference he will ‘crack on with HS2’.
In a letter to Mr McLoughlin, David Lidington wrote: “I fully understand that before making further detailed public comment you will want to establish the facts, including the extent to which, if at all, the flaws the modelling for WCML were replicated in other railway projects.
“What I hope you will be able to assure me at this stage is that the urgent review that you have ordered to take place will include HS2 and that your report on the findings of the review will make clear whether or not the flaws now discovered in the modelling for West Coast Main Line were also present in the modelling for HS2.”
Last week the transport secretary admited that ‘mistakes’ were made in assessing the inflation and passenger numbers in the bids for who should run the West Coast Main Line.
The decision is likely to cost taxpayers £40 million, because the firms involved in the bids will be reimbursed.
The mistakes only came to light while the Department For Transport prepared to defend its decision ahead of a legal challenge by Virgin Rail.
At the time Mr McLoughlin said: “I have had to cancel the competition for the running of the West Coast franchise because of deeply regrettable and completely unacceptable mistakes made by my department in the way it managed the process.”
The DfT permanent secretary Philip Rutnam said: “The errors exposed by our investigation are deeply concerning. They show a lack of good process and a lack of proper quality assurance.
“I am determined to identify exactly what went wrong and why, and to put these things right so that we never find ourselves in this position again.”
Penny Gaines, of Quainton, chairman of the Stop HS2 campaign group, said; “The Government have now been forced to admit that these projections are completely flawed in relation to the West Coast Main Line, so it is only a matter of time before they will be forced to admit they are flawed in relation to HS2.
“We have known the figures for HS2 haven’t stacked up from the start and now it is time for the Government to admit it too before more taxpayers’ money is squandered.”