Interviewed following his resignation: Aylesbury MP David Lidington on Boris, Brexit and the Bucks Herald's HS2 campaign...

David Lidington
David Lidington

Following his cabinet resignation today David Lidington spoke to The Bucks Herald and confirmed that he would now be campaigning hard to end HS2.

The MP for Aylesbury, who has faced criticism from constituents over lack of high level support on HS2, said that an insistence from Boris Johnson that cabinet members should stand behind his Halloween Brexit deal or no deal deadline, and a need to speak out more on constituency issues were the reasons for his departure.

The Bucks Herald has been leading the HS2: Enough Is Enough campaign

The Bucks Herald has been leading the HS2: Enough Is Enough campaign

He said: "I'm now free of collective responsibility, and that means that I will have the freedom to say what I think, both on constituency issues and other things too. I am happy to support The Bucks Herald's HS2 campaign.

"I am going to be raising vigorously the issue of HS2 and I would dearly love it to be scrapped, the most recent report of costs over running was shocking.

"This is what people locally and people who know about infrastructure economics have been sayings for a very long time."

He added: "The whole justification for the route through the Chilterns was that there was a need for people to get to work quicker.

An area of Wendover affected by HS2

An area of Wendover affected by HS2

"But now they are saying the justification is not high speed but capacity, if that is the case the entire premise of this proposed route falls down. They are also saying that the trains are going to be moving more slowly, if that is the case the whole business case falls away.

"We do need to spend more money on transport infrastructure, but the crying need is for better links between provincial cities."

He added: "The other part of the country where spending is needed is in the South West. Try getting the train to Cornwall, it takes a lot longer than travelling to Paris or Brussels from London."

And Mr Lidington gave an insight into how the cabinet works, and how he was able of avoid attending key votes on the HS2 scheme during his time in Government, so he did not have to vote in favour of the scheme.

He said: "The agreement I had with David Cameron and Theresa May was that I was always excused from voting on HS2, and I wasn't expected to speak up in support of it. But the rule was I could never denounce it in public."

Mr Lidington also spoke of times when collective responsibility has worked against even the Prime Minister.

He said: "When I was justice secretary I closed the Magistrates Court in Theresa May's constituency. But I believe collective responsibility is important, because you have to have a cabinet which conducts its arguments in private."

Mr Lidington has sat in four cabinet roles in his time in Government, and has been a long-serving member of Parliament for Aylesbury, being first elected in 1992.

He served as Minister of State for Europe throughout David Cameron's premiership.

Theresa May appointed him to the cabinet in June 2016, and he served as Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, later holding the title of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the second most senior role in Government.

Speaking about which his favourite ministerial job has been Mr Lidington couldn't decide.

He said: "The Europe job was fascinating, I was dealing with 50 different countries and places like Georgia I would never have been to otherwise.

"But standing in on Prime Minister's questions, the first time in particular was absolutely terrifying but every time I have done it, it has been very exciting."