Contrary to certain assumptions, I am the only Buckinghamshire MP whose constituency is not affected by the high-speed rail proposal. I know that your constituency is affected by it, Mr Speaker, and that your constituents have very strong views and that you submitted a substantial response to the consultation. The Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan), responded robustly to the consultation on behalf of her constituents, delivering seven files of objections and evidence against HS2, which will cut a deep scar through the middle of the area of outstanding natural beauty in which her constituency sits. The Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington), and the Attorney-General, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), were present earlier, and I know that their constituents are implacably opposed to HS2. Many other members of the Government also have objections, including the Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty’s Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant), who also has strong views.
Although my constituents are not directly affected, they oppose HS2 on a number of grounds, but before I go on to explain my opposition, I wish to welcome the Government’s noble intentions. Whether in seeking the rejuvenation of the economy, the revitalisation of the north or the protection of the environment, or in trying to attract international inward investment, their intentions are indeed noble, but I regret to say that I do not support the means by which they seek to meet those ends.
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There being huge pressure on the debate, I had to drop most of what I wanted to say about the proposal. Suffice to say I remain opposed.