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Spelman called to account on HS2

Campaigners are preparing to make a last ditch attempt to convince MP Caroline Spelman to oppose the second reading of the HS2 bill.

Campaigners are preparing to make a last ditch attempt to convince MP Caroline Spelman to oppose the second reading of the HS2 bill.

Members of the Heart of England High Speed Railway Action Group (HHAG) are encouraging residents to meet with the Meriden MP in Parliament to ask her to oppose the high speed rail link, ahead of the vote on the second bill in Parliament on Monday.

Mrs Spelman told the Solihull News she will be abstaining from the vote in order to put her name to two amendments and two instructions.

“I am abstaining because I am seeking to amend the bill and have put my name to several amendments,” the MP said.

“This is normal practice at the second reading so the amendments can be put forward in preparation for the third reading.

“There are issues including environmental impact and mitigating the impact of the five and a half years of construction work, which I wanted to either put forward or put my name to.”

But chairman of HHAG, Graham Lock, said there is ambiguity around the MP’s stance on HS2.

“We are asking people to meet Mrs Spelman in person, on the day of the vote to ask her to vote against the HS2 bill. This is a test to see if she does vote against the bill – we suspect she will abstain.

“We believe there is a political game going on, which is disappointing. We don’t want to get caught up in a political game, we want what is best for the communities that this is affecting.

“We know Mrs Spelman has always offered support for those who will be affected by HS2 but she will always support her party whip.”

Residents have been campaigning for HS2 bosses to incorporate a deep bore tunnel through part of Balsall Common to mitigate the affects on local residents.

HS2 Ltd has said it will not enter into negotiations with Solihull Council over the tunnel, leaving petitioning the only way the tunnel could be agreed.

As the News went to press (Wednesday) Solihull Council had not declared its position on whether it intended to officially petition for the tunnel.

Mrs Spelman said she has always made her position on HS2 ‘perfectly clear’ and has been helping residents put together their petitioning arguments, which includes the option for a deep bore tunnel.

 

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