Esther McVey, who opposes HS2 wants the controversial Bill brought back before Parliament and voted on in its entirety to see if it still has the support of the Commons – given how much has changed since the project was first suggested nearly 20 years ago.
The Tatton MP said the Bill was “highly contentious” particularly for her constituents and spoke out against it being carried over automatically into the next session of Parliament.
The House of Commons is set to prorogue next week before the Queen formally re-opens Parliament on May 10 when she will set out the Government’s agenda by outlining new legislation it hopes to introduce.
Ms McVey said: “Much has changed since the Bill’s genesis, and two things in particular. First, rail travel between cities has not returned to pre-covid levels or even close. That indicates even to those who agreed with the project in the first place that this expensive white elephant is no longer needed. Secondly, the cost of HS2 had continued to rise at an eye-watering rate, and that was before the huge rates of inflation that we are currently seeing, which will put costs up further.
“Those are vital areas of contention where there has been a material change since the Bill started its passage, so it is vital that the House of Commons starts the process of the Bill afresh to see whether the project still commands its support.”
A carry over motion allows a Bill to be extended and carried over into the next Parliamentary session. Most proceed unopposed but Ms McVey spoke out as the High Speed Rail (Crewe to Manchester) Bill was listed.
Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson said the issues raised by Ms McVey will be debated further when the Bill returns to the Commons for its second reading.