HS2 moved a step closer after it was approved by MPs in the Commons by an overwhelming majority of 451 to 41.
The proposed legislation, which was at its second reading stage, would grant powers to construct the rail line between London and Birmingham, cutting through Aylesbury Vale.
More than 150 MPs did not vote on the bill, including Aylesbury MP David Lidington, who would lose his job as minister if he were to vote against the scheme, and Buckingham MP John Bercow, who is unable to vote because he is Speaker of the House.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin acknowledged the concerns of Vale residents about the scheme, and said ‘I have made it clear that there is no talk of Luddites or Nimbys in this consultation’.
However, he was somewhat undermind by Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson, who said it was ‘b*****ks’ that protestors against HS2 were concerned about the environment.
Mr Johnson, whose father Stanley is publicly against HS2, told Total Politics magazine: “It’s tragic we have protest groups talking about ‘this ancient woodland’...it’s b*****ks. They’re not campaigning for forests, they’re not campaigning for butterflies.
“They pretend to be, but what they’re really furious about is that their house prices are getting it.”
Mr McLoughlin added: “I acknowledge the practical concerns that have made to me including by my right honourable friend the member for Aylesbury, (David Lidington) we need to do more to help.”
Mr McLoughlin then went on to say that his department would be speaking with residents in Hawkslade, Aylesbury, and said that there would be scope for a new wooded area in Fairford Leys as a result of the line.
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said the vote created a precedent as for the first time, MPs voted for a bill knowing that the Government had overturned a legal ruling demanding that documents containing relevant information about the bill, the Major Projects Authority report, be made public.
There will now be a Judicial Review into the non-disclosure of the Major Projects Authority report, publication of which was vetoed by Mr McLoughlin.
He added: “What we saw today undermines democracy at its core.
“We saw MPs willing to vote for a bill because their party had told them to do so, knowing they did not all the facts, knowing that a Government report critical which was critical of HS2 was censored, because it would be harder for them to vote for it if everyone knew the truth.
“Irrespective of what you think of HS2, the fact MPs have said ‘We don’t know and we don’t care’ about a commitment to spend well over the official 2011 cost of £50 billion should have everyone worried about the competency of all the MPs who voted for this bill.”
“The MPs who spoke for HS2 were sickeningly ill-informed, and willing to spout anything they had been told to say.
“Surely some of them at least knew that they were quoting disproven lies, but because they might sound good to people not in possession of the facts they had no shame in saying them. I challenge any MP who spoke for HS2 today to get in a real debate about the project, because I know they will come up short and not be able to deal with the truth.”
“When Boris Johnson says that people who say HS2 is bad for the environment are talking b*****ks and are only really interested in their house prices, you suspect he is bringing a family argument to the national media and is talking about his dad.
“He clearly isn’t talking about the likes of the Woodland Trust, The Wildlife Trusts or the Green Party. Whilst Boris and his dad may have differing views on the impact of HS2, both my son and I are genuinely concerned about the environmental impacts of HS2, and neither of us own a house, so we know is Boris is talking b*****ks.
“Everyone opposed to HS2 has to keep on fighting. Not only do we want to make HS2 the most toxic issue at the next election, but you have to remember that as Frank Dobson keeps pointing out, that the original plans for HS1 got all the way to committee stage, and the committee threw them out. That is why everyone concerned about HS2 now has to petition against it.”