Allegations that cost for High Speed Rail 2 were knowingly underestimated must be investigated and if found to be true Parliament must be allowed to vote again on whether the controversial scheme should continue, Esther McVey has said.
The Tatton MP – who opposes HS2, said the London to Birmingham section of the line was agreed by MPs based on the predicated costs of £23.5 billion.
Last week Lord Tony Berkeley told the House of Lords he had information from whistle-blowers which showed those costs had been flattened and were in fact £48billion.
Ms McVey said: “If that is the case, isn’t it right, that if we were given misinformation, a vote needs to be heard again and had again.”
She made the comment as MPs debate a petition signed by more than 155,000 people calling for HS2 to be scrapped. Of those more than 2,000 are from Tatton – the highest number of people opposing the scheme from phase 2 of the line.
Ms McVey said the time that has been allocated to this debate is woefully short and it adds to the sense the public has that they are being silenced and opposition to the scheme is silenced
She said people and groups in Tatton had worked tirelessly unearthing the failings of HS2, including Ashley Parish Council, Lach Dennis and Lostock Green Parish Council, Mid Cheshire Against HS2, Kathy O'Donoghue and Ros Todhunter for her technical expertise.
“When it comes to HS2 there is not just one failing,” Ms McVey said.
“There are many, the more you look into this project the worse it gets. From its ballooning costs to the destruction of land and countryside, from it being an out of date project we need high speed broadband 1gb capability which would connect everywhere, not HS2.”
Ms McVey, who wants HS2 replaced by local transport infrastructure to support local communities, questioned the spiralling costs, fearing Government was adamant to push ahead with the scheme regardless of cost.
Ms McVey urged Government to set out how the scheme would level up the North, and detail costs for cancelling the scheme.
She added: “Consign HS2 to the history books. The world has moved on since Lord Adonis came up with the idea in 2004. We need digital infrastructure and local transport links. End the madness and out of control costs of HS2 now.”