UPDATED: Aylesbury MP defends decision not to vote against HS2

David Lidington MP
David Lidington MP

David Lidington has said he will not be voting against HS2 when it comes before Parliament this week.

The High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Speaking at a HS2 Action Alliance event in Wendover at the weekend, the Aylesbury MP said: “What I’m going to do on Wednesday is not take part in the vote.”

The minister for Europe said he would have to resign from the Government if he voted against it.

Mr Lidington said by doing this he would lose the ability to influence decisions through access to key players such as the Prime Minister.

He said at the meeting: “Resigning is a nuclear option. It’s something you can only do once. It’s a last resort.”

In a statement issued today, Mr Lidington said in recent meetings with the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Transport Secretary he has made his constituents’ views clear.

He said: “I have decided not to take part in this week’s vote on the paving bill.

“Some people have suggested that I should leave the Government now to vote against it.

“But my constituents would get no benefit by me doing that.

“The bill would still go ahead, it is supported by the leaderships of both government and opposition.

“All I would do is throw away the access and any leverage I can use on behalf of my constituents and at a time when important decisions about compensation and environmental mitigation are being discussed.

“The paving bill does not authorise construction of HS2.

“It doesn’t even specify the route, let alone provide powers to acquire or enter private property.

“I shall continue to work as hard as I can to represent the interests and the opinions of my constituents to those ministers and officials who are deciding HS2 policy.”

When she was Welsh Secretary, Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan threatened to resign from the Government if HS2 went ahead.

She has since been removed from the post.