HS2 3rd reading


HS2 3rd reading

­­Yesterday in Parliament we had a vote on HS2.

During the election campaign I stated that if I was elected I would not vote for any Government Infrastructure project such as HS2, unless and until Plymouth’s rail and air link had a financed and clear plan for delivery.

I am acutely aware of my commitments I made before I was elected. I am acutely aware of people’s fears when it comes to election promises changing in office. I will simply not allow this to happen, and my record to date proves this.

Therefore on Monday of this week I informed the Whips office that I would not be able to vote for the Government’s HS2 programme. At no stage was I put under any pressure to change my mind.

On Tuesday I spoke with to other Member’s of Parliament from the South West about their assessment of the Government’s commitment to our infrastructure. They made it very clear to me that given the huge investment and planning over the last 18 months by this Government – more than was done under the 13 years of a Labour Government in total – I could and should support this Government for their efforts on HS2.

On Tuesday evening I spoke to Gary Streeter MP, who has campaigned tirelessly for better rail and air links to Plymouth for over twenty years.

It is clear this Government has demonstrated its commitment to supporting our transport. No other regional airport has received the special Government attention to get it re-opened than Plymouth’s, and that report is due shortly.

Both in finding the money for the recent GRIP 2 study at very short notice, and in the recent budget the Government demonstrated it’s commitment to supporting and funding our 20 years plan to upgrade our rail network. The £5m committed just last week shows this still further. The Peninsula Rail Task Force will now complete it’s work by July this year, and it is clear that we have a funded and realistic plan to deliver a Rail Service suitable for Plymouth.

Further we are taking stock of a £300m bi-modal faster, better fleet of new trains for Plymouth in 2018.

I cannot then in all good conscience say that my criteria have not been fulfilled, and so I have supported the Government on their plans for HS2, along with my two fellow MPs from Plymouth.

The war is not won. Plymouth deserves better than it has historically received from Government, and I will continue to relentlessly work to deliver a brighter future that all of us know is just around the corner.

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Comments (3)

  1. Robert Eadie :

    Thank you for expalining your position. The dog in a manger approach sets a bad tone for co-operation in the future. As a long term resident of the south west it is my obervation that labour governments do nothing in this region because it is basically conservative; and conservative governments do little because it is a fairly safe conservative region.
    The south west needs a rail link that is fast and reliable at the moment there is neither. IKB was a brilliant rail engineer to improve his magnificent works in the 21st century would be a fitting tribute to his genius.
    You are good at keeping your constituency well informed, I for one appreciate it.

  2. peter sparkes :

    Dear Johnny, at this stage Plymouth & the South West do not have a financed and clear plan for delivery. The barest minimum you should have had before supporting the HS2 project is the publication of the reports.
    As given the previous delays in either funding or publishing the reports (particularly the airport review). Hopefully when the reports are published the necessary funding is put in place for a rail link as soon as possible, given David Cameron’s promises after the line at Dawlish was washed out.
    With regards to the airport if the report says the site is viable SHH should be made to give up the lease and given £1 compensation; in lieu of the Business rates they have not paid and the sale of the airport equipment they sold off previously

    As it is likely the new bi-modal trains will be running before an alternative track to the Dawlish route is place; has it been asked whether they will be able to cope with sea water landing on the roofs. Or, will they be of a similar design to the Crosscountry Trains which have to stop at Exeter during rough weather.
    If so Plymouth and Cornwall will be cut off even more regularly than they are now. Unless, GWR keep back a number of the HST at Laira

  3. Robert cowling :

    l would lik to know what his opinions are on the EU referendum.

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