Coffee House

Michael Fabricant sacked: what about other HS2 opponents?

9 April 2014

9 April 2014

It’s difficult to know what astonished people more about Michael Fabricant’s sacking: that he has lost his job or that he was still in a role that required some semblance of collective responsibility. Shortly after assuming the role of Vice Chair of the Conservative Party, he called for a pact with Ukip. Some of his tweets have raised eyebrows. He said it was ‘about time’ that Maria Miller resigned. But the final straw that led party chairman Grant Shapps to ask him to think about resigning from his job was that Fabricant had tabled this wrecking amendment to the HS2 Bill:

That this House, while recognising the ever-increasing need for additional north-south rail line capacity to relieve congestion on the West Coast Mainline and to improve connectivity between major cities and with London, declines to give the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill a second reading because the line as set forth in the Bill (a) is insensitively routed through previously unspoiled countryside unnecessarily damaging the environment including wildlife habitats, ancient woodlands and waterways, (b) is significantly more costly than it need be because of the extra mitigation required to reduce environmental damage arising from the current planned route, (c) unlike much of the planned route north of the West Midlands and unlike similar lines in continental Europe, does not propose the use of existing transport corridors which would mitigate environmental damage and construction costs, (d) fails to connect directly to existing major mainline stations, (e) fails to connect directly with potential airport hubs for London and the south-east of England, (f) fails to connect with High Speed 1 and the Channel Tunnel, (g) fails to provide for sufficient public transport to disperse passengers disembarking from High Speed 2 (HS2) trains at Euston, (h) provides inadequate compensation to those blighted by the route and those whose property is subject to compulsory purchase orders and (i) does not provide for construction to start from Manchester and Leeds; and therefore calls on the Government to produce revised HS2 legislation with a more environmentally sympathetic and cost-effective route.

Yes, that’s an amendment declining to give the high-speed rail bill a second reading. Which is awkward when it’s a flagship piece of Conservative legislation. It is also a bit awkward because it has David Davis as one of the signatories, along with Sir Edward Leigh and Jeremy Lefroy. Davis has a habit of pitching up whenever there’s trouble in the same way as iron filings have a habit of rushing towards a magnet. And the proposed route of the initial HS2 link doesn’t go near his constituency.

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Fabricant refused to resign, and was then sacked. But there are apparently no hard feelings towards him from CCHQ.

It will be interesting to see how many Conservative MPs back this wrecking amendment. But what will also be interesting is what some of the Bill’s opponents in government do about it. Cheryl Gillan left the government in 2012 partly to enable her to fight the legislation, which she has done with dogged determination ever since. But David Lidington, whose Aylesbury constituency is also affected by the line, remains Europe Minister (he explained why he hadn’t resigned over the preparation bill in November here). Of course, his job may mean he’s unaccountably delayed in a European capital when the votes come up.


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Show comments
  • Michael

    Mr Fabricant and his amendment do seem to have their finger on HS2′s major flaws.
    He might perhaps have added:
    1. HS2’s speed-first route risks drawing central Birmingham into the London ‘super-world-economy’: worsening the tilt towards London when Stage One opens.
    2. HS2’s Leeds fork will not stop at East Midlands Airport: that region’s best potential growth driver, despite the tilt towards London.
    3. HS2’s Euston terminus is a pain for City, Canary Wharf, south of London and Essex rail users to get to: a different terminus arrangement is needed.

    But, despite its obvious flaws, HS2 still has its team of unquestioning supporters.

    As a full-scheme alternative, try HS2 Plan B, which would start North-first:

    http://hsnorthstart.wordpress….

  • Tubby_Isaacs

    Wow.
    His proposal… avoids his constituency. Who’d have thought that?
    Representing his constituents, fair play.
    But the idea there’s some brilliant solution he’s found- no chance.

  • gram64

    A brilliant, coherent amendment. Detailed commonsense with regard to a lunatic, economically crippling project which will do nothing other than shift a bigger proportion of the northern population and economy into London than would otherwise be the case (which is, incidentally, the exact opposite of what the government intends to achieve with the absurd HS2). Why doesn’t Fabricant join UKIP? Davis too, come to that. The Conservatives are a lost cause.

    • Tubby_Isaacs

      Maybe if they pulled up the existing West Coas Mainline, the North would do better, eh?

  • Normandee

    Lidington is a dedicated European and doesn’t give a damn about his constituants. this has to be a target seat for UKIP. Lidington even refused to be in the same BBC studio as Tim Akers from UKIP, shows how scared Cameron and his corrupt social democrats are.

  • swatnan

    Just how many Vice Chairs doe the Tory Party have hidden away.
    Its a non job but they get extra cash for doing it. The man needs a haircut.

  • Mark McIntyre

    NO2 HS2 – sack the proponents !

    • Guest

      that’s what just happened.

  • Smithersjones2013

    All one can say is its ‘SNAFU’ in the Tory Party, You couldn’t make it up. The Tory party truly is the ‘Frank Spencer’ of political parties

    Broken divided dysfunctional Tories.

    • HookesLaw

      Even the odious Mail had to draw attention to Fabricant’s ‘uncontrollable’ behavious and tweets – like having a relationship with a Llama and other lewd jokes, and making off message comments about ministers.
      At 63 he is of an age and stupidity to be ideal kipper material.

      • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

        Fabulous hair though.

  • Equaloiter

    Whether it was all his own work or whether he wrote this ‘wrecking amendment’ with help from HS2 opponents, Fabricant has now got on the record books as an awkward MP.

    Well done Fabricant!

    There aren’t enough of those in the House of Commons.

    There must be more.

    Many more.

    In fact the Commons should have a majority of awkward MPs who make trouble for the wrongdoing executives.

    Can you understand this, Isabel?

    Or are you, like Cameron, in denial?

  • kyalami

    The amendment sounded quite sensible, I thought.

    • HookesLaw

      No it did not – it was a load of rubbish.
      It said we need a HS2 we must build it but not through my constituency.
      It does just confirn what a load of thickos there are on the tory backbenches.

      • Toxteth O’Grady

        ‘we need a HS2 we must build it but not through my constituency.’

        In fairness, isn’t that just what George Osborne said?

      • Wessex Man

        you know you are getting a tad wheezy now Hooky, calm down dear.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Surely Fabrican is more of a Whig (with a wig) than a Tory (with a topper)?

    Those who live by the tweet die by the tweet!

  • MirthaTidville

    Rats fighting in the proverbial sack…The only conclusion you can come to is that Farage must have paid them to do it!!!!

  • anyfool

    Another muppet in another non job loses his top. who actually cares. come on a vice chairman, a job of no consequence, get a bloody life ffs.

  • Alexsandr

    wonder where they will get the electricity to run these high speed trains because they use an astonishing amount of power. a TGV uses 8800kW. and the french run theirs in multiple.

    • Lady Magdalene

      They’re going to run them slowly, to conserve energy.
      So our “joined up” Govt is proposing to borrow and waste £50billion+ on a HighSpeed rail line which will then be required to Go Slow.
      Madness. But that’s what you get when the EU is behind a project and EU puppets in the UK are pushing it through.

    • HookesLaw

      They will get it from the national grid. Same way the tube does.
      My understanding is that regenerative braking returns power to the system
      http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/policy/single-view/view/regenerative-braking-boosts-green-credentials.html

      But if you want to argue, argue with this bloke
      http://www.uic.org/apps/presentation/garcia.pdf
      or
      https://www.uic.org/download.php/publication/526E.pdf
      who say
      ‘These authors show that on the same route (Väterás to Stockholm), a
      conventional train took 78 minutes and consumed 0.042 kWh/seat-km in 1994,
      whereas in 2004 the X2000 tilting high speed train, with one more stop, took 53
      minutes (-32%) and consumed 0.030 kWh/seat-km (-28%).’
      and
      ‘the same article we also analysed the consumption of electricity produced by
      these trains, measured at the power station’s outlet busbars. In the case of
      Lleida to Roda, the reduction in consumption at the power station is -40%,
      greater than the reduction measured in the pantograph (-16%). Something
      similar occurs in the case of the Córdoba route: consumption in the power
      station bars is 27% less (in the pantograph the reduction in consumption is 8%).
      The differences are due to the fact that the high speed lines are electrified at a
      higher voltage (25 kV as opposed to 3 kV), which means that losses are lower.
      Moreover, the regenerative brake is used more on high speed lines than on
      conventional lines.’

      • Alexsandr

        well all our lines are 25kv north of the thames so that wont help
        faster trains use more power. laws of physics
        and current trains regen.
        anyway the case for HS2 is based in extra capacity needed so these will be extra, not replacements. (but inter city growth is stalled on WCML.)

        • HookesLaw

          The above article mentions the virtue of 25kv. It aslo points out the saving in power. The articles do actually point out that superfast trrains consume slightly more power but for a shorter time. Power generation does not seem to be an issue.
          In effect your arguments are busted.

          • Alexsandr

            so you dont think the government poor generation policy lacking, and that it will have no effect on the railway?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        If you operate at higher voltage, that means all new equipment must be installed on that line, at considerable capital and maintenance cost. Not that we’d expect an ignorant and poorly educated socialist Camerluvvie to understand that, and you don’t disappoint. .

    • WT

      From the Grid? Like all the other electric trains do, and those on the 800+ miles of track being electrified in the next few years will?

  • dado_trunking

    How to get rid of dead weight.
    Bundle up and discard in bulk.

    • Holly

      Just what the banks did, and yet we ALL still bank with them….Weird eh?

      • dado_trunking

        . . . which means they must have bundled up something else. Something that has nothing to do with you and me. Yet something that you and I now pay for. It appears yet another ‘Standards Committee’ didn’t do its job properly.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …well, if they spared you, then yes they didn’t do their job.

  • dado_trunking

    Is it now common British standard to commit to distracting from the achievements of troughers? We ought to thank the lady for her full support of the Prime Minister which is frankly invaluable in times of up and coming elections, so we all can just. . . move on.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …is the goat moving on with you, lad?

  • lily of the valley

    David Cameron sacks Fabricant but wanted to keep Miller. His political compass is up his backside. I hope the Conservatives implode and quickly.

    • DavEd CamerBand

      They’ve gone, they don’t stand a chance, the Barclay brothers will hopefully start backing UKIP.

      • telemachus

        To their eternal credit they do not like fruitcake
        *
        I hear whisper that they have given sponsorship to the charismatic one for Sunday

        • MirthaTidville

          `The charismatic one` I hope so, Nigel Farage is just that,glad you agree, so abally proved in his recent debates with Numpty Nick dont`t you think

          • jack mustard

            Nigel Farage is running the London Marathon? Now that I would pay to see!

            • telemachus

              Been in training with cigarettes and beer
              Do you think he will make it to the General Election

            • Wessex Man

              are you going to run alonside him?

              • telemachus

                I am not worthy so much as to touch his boots

          • telemachus

            I grant you Farage Charisma
            But you need charisma and substance

            • Kitty MLB

              Does the lady realise whom you are speaking of when you
              say ‘ the charismatic one’ the disciple of darkness himself.
              Mr Farage has charisma and substance. Miliband
              has a charisma and substance of a disembowelled jellyfish.

              • telemachus

                Wrong Ed Kitty

            • Wessex Man

              good job he’s got both, as has Paul Nuttall and Roger Helmer then.

              • telemachus

                Substance?
                Perhaps in the singular
                It takes more than one horse to draw the carriage of state

                • Wessex Man

                  dear tele, what on earth is Ed going to do now then?

        • an ex-tory voter

          As discerning men of good taste the Barclay brothers could not possibly prefer “sweetmeat” to fruitcake.

          • telemachus

            But I’ll wager that you will be glued to the race on Sunday to see his triumphal progress

        • Wessex Man

          oh dear tele, you’ve got that one worng.

          • telemachus

            Just watch Sunday Night’s newscasts

            • DavEd CamerBand

              How wonderful, I’m sure fruitcake is preferable to the stale bread of Cameron. You arouse these conflicting emotions in me, on the one hand I really do just want to kick you down the road, and on the other hand I want to take all off your clothes and soap you gently with Palmolive, and put you to bed.

              • Wessex Man

                stop it!

              • the viceroy’s gin

                I recommend you eschew the other hand, and stick to the one hand.

                And if you get tired of kicking, I’m sure we can arrange relief for you.

                • DavEd CamerBand

                  Some are beyond help, the dear boy is probably tucked up with pooh bear after a long debauched Marxist rally.

                  I think he’s a lost cause, I’ve tried to enlighten him on several topics but he seems vacant and the rational part of his mind, unfrequented.

      • perdix

        According to Private Eye the a/the Barclay(s) have been financially supporting Farage. No comment in the Daily Bullygraph about that.

        • DavEd CamerBand

          I don’t really trust private eye, that Hislop fellow seems rather left-wing on the BBC show, and I believe the publication to be so, although most things are to the left of me.

          My guess, it’s probably a two-birds-with-one-stone attack, but I haven’t read the article. If true, it might explain the establishment taking notice of him recently.

    • HookesLaw

      Fabricant is an oafish thicko who is deliberately undermining his own party. As are you and your rag tag and bobtail load of supporters who want to let in a Europhile labour govt just because you are all a load of homophobic bigots.

      • lily of the valley

        What an intelligent post. Makes me all the more proud to be a homophobic thicko. Are you a Conservative? Dave must be so proud.

        • Wessex Man

          He’s Call me Dave’s left hand foot.

      • MirthaTidville

        So there you have it folks..the authentic voice of the conservative Party…………no wonder Farage is laughing

  • Magnolia

    Looks like you’ve beaten GF to this one, well done.
    The government can’t afford to lose one of such star quality, second only to his lookalike Boris.
    They’re turning on the leadership in preparation for the May elections.
    I said when MM went the PM would be more vulnerable to attack.
    Public opinion doesn’t just mosey along, when it turns, it turns and our MPs can sniff that change in the air.
    How many more will be sacked/fprced to resign this week?

  • WatTylersGhost

    The Tory Party, the comedy act that gives and keeps on giving. Every day another hilarious act that in this tragi/comedy. The writers of The Thick of It, would not dare make this stuff up as it would be rejected as being too far fetched.

  • perdix

    A vice chair of the Party tables a wrecking amendment to government legislation? Of course it’s a sacking matter!

  • An mx

    The Tories are imploding…. Vote UKIP

    • DavEd CamerBand

      They really are though, I’d sooner vote for Miliband than the Tories, not that there’s much difference.

  • An mx

    HS2 is a project ordered by the EU. Anyone who questions it is an enemy of the European state and must be silenced.

    • perdix

      The HS2 project is NOT ordered by the EU. You are either ignorant or dishonest.

      • DavEd CamerBand

        It actually was, it was originally dreamt up by Blair, the man who was promised in after-dinner promise from Jacques Chirac, that he’d make Teflon Tony President of the EU.

        • An mx

          “On March 21 2002 it was declared by Advocate General Geelhoed in case C-441/00, Commission of the European Communities vs United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, that the UK had failed to fulfil its obligations under Council Directive 96/48/EC of July 23 1996 on the interoperability of the trans-European high speed rail system.

          It the EUs version of Hitler’s Autobahn project

          • DavEd CamerBand

            Thankyou for sharing this. At least Hitler was elected.

            • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

              Actually he lost the German presidential election of 1932, he was appointed Chancellor by Hindenburg.

              • DavEd CamerBand

                1934

                • Samuel Kaine Wheeler

                  You mean the referendum passed to merge the roles of Chancellor and President after Hindenburg died and Hitler had already assumed supreme power?

                  I don’t tend to consider post-facto referendums in dictatorships as free elections.

          • Tony_E

            And finally someone gets it.

            Transport was shifted to the EU in 1992 under the Maastrict treaty, and the building of an integrated transport system was one of Jaques Delors’ great schemes. He wanted to link all the major cities by high speed rail.

          • WT

            Given that our only HSR route is a connection to the continent, isn’t inter-operability a relevant concern?

      • WT

        Correct. HS2 is not an EU requirement. If you build new HSR, there are European standards you must adhere to – but you don’t have to build it to begin with.

  • DavEd CamerBand

    WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON?! This man is just about the only decent human in Whitehall.

    The Tories have really gone to the dogs.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      They’re finished, and this is the usual self-immolation that you see in such cases.

  • Hello

    “Cheryl Gillan left the government in 2012 partly to enable her to fight the legislation, which she has done with dogged determination ever since”

    Oh? Did Cheryl Gillian leave the government? I was under the impression she was removed from it.

    • Agrippina

      Gillan sold her home and moved to Surrey, and shortly afterwards the HS2 route was announced, so nothing fishy there then!

      After she was sacked as Welsh Sec, she has spoken against HS2, another lousy MP who should stand down in 2015. Vote Ukip get rid of the troughers.

  • dado_trunking

    Today Bill Withers springs to mind
    When I wake up in the morning luv
    and the sunlight hurts my eyes . . .

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …Bill Withers said there was no sunshine when she’s gone, comrade.

      …which is too bad for everybody but you greenie nutters, because that means there’s nothing to drive all the lovely solar panels that sunlight would be shining on, at only 3-4 times the cost of fossil fuel, thanks to you types.

  • MaxSceptic

    Sensible policies on HS2 and UKIP….

    Of course he must be sacked.

  • Kitty MLB

    Just saw him as a rather perculiar mop of hair,
    an inferior Boris ‘byron’ Johnson blonde golden retriever.
    And that was basically it ……

    • edward

      Not really the man has principles and was not afraid to express them.

      • Holly

        So do Miliband & Balls….It all depends on what they are.

        • TruthBeatsLies

          I see exactly what you mean… Miliband’s are fine – Balls are a Train-Wreck…!!!

    • Wessex Man

      He never turned his head too quickly for fewar of what would be left bwhind!

  • Bill Brinsmead

    Crikey, didn’t realise he had a job!

    • Holly

      Crikey…
      I’d NEVER heard of the bod.

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