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Pressure mounting on Aylesbury MP David Lidington to vote against HS2

David Lidington MP

David Lidington MP

 

Senior Vale Tories are putting pressure on MP David Lidington to set aside his ministerial role and vote ‘no’ to HS2.

Mr Lidington is not expected to cast a vote at the April 28 hybrid bill reading as he is a minister and must vote with the Government.

In past votes on HS2 Mr Lidington has abstained by being away from Westminster as part of his role as Minister for Europe – a position he claims allows him to influence HS2 policy from within the government.

But senior Conservatives say that this key vote is the time for Mr Lidington, who is paid £33,000 for his ministerial role on top of the £67,000 he earns as an MP, to support his constituents by voting ‘no’.

Sue Polhill, who sits on Aylesbury Vale District Council’s cabinet, said: “David Lidington has been an excellent MP, he has worked really hard behind the scenes on mitigation and on other things too, and now is the time for him to come out and vote against it.

“It is regrettable that he has been put in this position, because he would be a great loss as a minister, but sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in.”

And Mrs Polhill’s fellow cabinet member Sir Beville Stanier called for Mr Lidington to examine his conscience.

He said: “I think all MPs should vote ‘no’.

“As a cabinet and a council we’ve put up money for the challenge against this and we are all one voice on it.

“David Lidington knows what his own conscience is and what he feels is right, and I know him well enough to know that he will do the right thing.”

And Pam Pearce, who also sits on the cabinet, urged the MP to make the right decision.

She said: “I wouldn’t dictate to him what to do with his position, but he is there to represent the people who voted for him, he has a big decision to make.”

Martin Tett, who as Conservative leader of Bucks County Council is one of Mr Lidington’s strongest political allies, called for MPs in constituencies along the line to cast a no vote against HS2.

He said: “I know he’s not been at the votes, and we are looking to see the maximum number of MPs vote against these proposals because we think they are wrong for the country.

“As many MPs as possible should vote against these proposals because they are a poor use of public money.

“Unfortunately it’s likely that the proposals will go through, which is why it’s important that we get the maximum amount of no votes that we can, and that we focus very strongly on mitigation, to make sure that we get the best deal possible for the Vale.”

Bucks County Council cabinet member Patricia Birchley lives just 225 metres from the proposed HS2 line.

She said: “He’s explained that he is able to do more behind the scenes, but HS2 still looks like its going to go ahead.

“I’m not saying he should resign his post, I’m saying he should vote ‘no’. Any resignation would be a decision for David Cameron.

“I would urge all Bucks members to vote ‘no’ now because it’s very serious now.

“This will damage livelihoods, homes and jobs and is not the solution to our transport problems.”

And local opposition politicians have also called for the MP to show his support for residents, by breaking with the party line and voting against the bill.

Steven Lambert, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: “The first job of an MP is to look after your constituents and I am very disappointed that he hasn’t done so.

“He has to vote against it, anything else and he is letting down his constituents.”

Chris Adams, Aylesbury’s prospective parliamentary candidate for UKIP, and county councillor for Wendover, said: “When you are an MP you are supposed to represent residents, and vote how they want you to vote.

“He is absolutely useless, he doesn’t represent the people.

“Isn’t it about time that he stood up for the people that put the cross on the ballot paper?”

The Bucks Herald attempted to contact Mr Lidington but he was unavailable for comment. In November he explained his stance to The Bucks Herald in a video interview..

It is understood that Mr Lidington is planning to be at a public lecture in Estonia on the future of Europe on the day of the vote.

The Vale’s other MP, John Bercow, who is publicly against HS2, also cannot vote against the scheme due to his position as speaker.

The HS2 Action Alliance has urged residents to attend a Westminster rally on the day of the vote.

Between midday and 8pm a team will provide guidance on how to lobby your MP. For details visit www.hs2aa.org

PEOPLE’S POLL: You can vote on Mr Lidington’s stance in the People’s Poll which is available to the right of this story.

 

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