Anger after MP David Lidington sends generic HS2 email to affected Wendover resident 'he has ignored' for years

David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury
David Lidington, MP for Aylesbury

A Wendover resident whose home is set to be severely affected by HS2 has hit out, after receiving a generic email from MP David Lidington who they claim has ignored them previously.

A Wendover resident whose home is set to be severely affected by HS2 has hit out, after receiving a generic email from MP David Lidington who they claim has ignored them previously.

An area of Wendover affected by HS2

An area of Wendover affected by HS2

The resident, who we agreed not to name says that despite the Speaker of the House John Bercow and others responding directly to their issues, their own MP Mr Lidington has always failed to reply to emails.

But, it is clear they were received, because the constituent’s name is clearly on his email list, ready for the sending of the round-robin email last week.

The resident said: “When I asked if David Lidington could please keep us residents within his constituency, up to date, with the House Select Committee visits to the area, he told me verbally, in front of the Select Committee (when residents stood in front of the coach and therefore members of the committee and David Lidington himself got off to talk with us), he confirmed he held no data base of email addresses.

“Clearly now he has something to say whilst promoting himself and seeking future votes, he can now write to us and holds a data base including my email address.

The Bucks Herald is leading the HS2: Enough Is Enough campaign

The Bucks Herald is leading the HS2: Enough Is Enough campaign

“I don’t remember any privacy notice around the time of May last year reminding me he held my email address or any details about me and what my rights are under the privacy legislation that came in to force in May 2018.”

The email from the newly knighted Mr Lidington included an outline of what is going on with the HS2 scheme. Previously he has been bound by collective responsibility because of Government roles, most recently Theresa May’s right hand man as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

In an extract from the email Mr Lidington said: “I will be meeting with Douglas Oakervee in the coming weeks to discuss my constituents concerns in more detail. I plan to make it clear that in my view the huge overruns in both time and budget must lead to the conclusion that the line has simply ceased to be good value for taxpayers’ money, if it ever was.

“I believe that the best investment of the cost of HS2 would be improving links in the north of England, which would power-up the northern economy and could later be connected down to London in a number of years, if the business case was strong enough. It would also stop the damage to the AONB and would potentially allow for route changes should the line be re-considered in future.

“However, if the review does not come to the conclusion that the project should be cancelled completely, I plan to make the case that it would be foolish not to include an intermediate station near my constituency, both to benefit constituents and to link up with East-West Rail and the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

“This is especially true now that the business case is firmly based upon capacity rather than speed. I will also strongly advise that the review looks in close detail at the Wendover Mined Tunnel proposal.”

Clearly Mr Lidington, in his newly free speaking capacity, has strong views about the HS2 scheme, but while in his Government role, he told this newspaper that the country has to come before for constituents on the HS2 issue.

The resident added: “I’m a resident of Wendover and my home and peace of mind are very much impacted upon by HS2.

“I consider David Lidington has committed a gross dereliction of elected duty by not representing his constituency views fully in Select Committee meetings, he has put his parliamentary position and career in front of representing our views, our concerns and nothing has been gained for residents.

“He mentions a tunnel for Wendover in the recent email. His backing is years too late. We needed him on our side when this white elephant started its slow expensive walk through our lives and our country side.

“The heart of the community in our road has gone, with most houses sold to HS2 and empty or rented out to tenants.

“When a tenant permitted his contractors to enter my land and cut back my hedges on my side of the boundary I had responses, on the day, from The Speaker of the House, The Parish Council and HS2 themselves (who actually dealt with the issue with the tenant) David Lidington’s office never answered my email.

“That says it all in my view.”

When asked to comment on this story David Lidington said: “I always reply to constituents who contact me. Very rarely a constituent’s email gets stuck in the parliamentary spam filters or a constituent inadvertently mistyped the email address. However, any email addressed to my parliamentary address at the House of Commons receives an automatic acknowledgment which confirms that the email has been received. I would strongly encourage the constituent to call my office directly on 020 7219 3432.

“I send occasional updates to people who write to me about HS2 and other issues. As many of my constituents have been in touch with me since the Oakervee Review was announced, I felt that they would be interested to know what my plans were to engage with the review. The overwhelming majority of responses that I have received have been positive.

“The General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 form the basis of data protection law in the UK. Within the Act, Paragraph 23 sets out how an MP can use constituents’ information as the elected representative for the area – for instance to provide updates to people who have been in touch about an issue like HS2. Where individuals ask to be removed from a mailing list, I do so immediately.”

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