Don’t expect this afternoon’s vote on HS2 to be the biggest insurrection of all time: it is the preparation bill and there are a number of reasons why MPs who could yet oppose the project won’t cause trouble this afternoon. One is the rather technical reason that some want to support this legislation in order to secure adequate compensation for constituents whose property will be blighted until an alternative route is chosen or all three parties agree to invest in existing lines. Another is that some remain to be convinced of the case for the line: the whips have been working rather hard on this, I hear.
But the third is that it’s half term for a lot of schools, and a sure-fire way of getting time off to spend with your children if you’re a Tory MP is apparently to mention to your whip that you’re minded to oppose the preparation bill.
P.S. It’s our HS2 debate tonight, with Nigel Farage, Rory Sutherland and Cheryl Gillan speaking against HS2, and Matthew Parris, Sir Richard Leese and Steve Norris arguing in favour. There are still a few tickets left, so if you’re at a loose end, or a Tory MP who has unaccountably been given the day off, do book here.Tags: Conservatives, High-speed rail, HS2, UK politics