There are a significant number of Tory rebels on HS2. There will a tiny majority now with the Tory/DUP coalition. Any rebellion at all will flatten any part of the government programme. The first example is HS2. This article in The Spectator covers the rebellion last time this issue came up. There were 26 Tory rebels against a 3 line whip. That would enable Corbyn to stop HS2 in its tracks (pardon the pun). Another candidate would be fracking under national parks which saw significant rebellion from COnservative MPs. First HS2.
Briefing: the Tory HS2 rebels
High Speed 2 moved another step closer to actually happening last night, as the Hybrid Bill passed its second reading and vote in the Commons. 41 MPs voted against the bill, including 26 Conservatives who rebelled against the party’s three-line whip.
The rebellious MPs fall into three categories: those whose constituencies will be affected by HS2, those unconvinced by the project and the usual contingent of troublemakers. Then there are the MPs who stayed away from the Commons yesterday, mysteriously or otherwise. Here is a breakdown of the rebels and abstainers:
HS2 runs through their constituency
- Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) – The former Wales Secretary has been one of the most vocal critics of HS2. She tabled an amendment to the Hybrid Bill, declining to give it a second reading. The Gillan amendment was voted down 451 votes to 50 before the main vote — see who voted for it here.
- Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) — The former Vice Chairman of the Conservative party also tabled an amendment against HS2, which was not chosen by the Speaker. A long-time critic of the project, Fabricant claims there are 80-100 Tories with ‘really serious doubts’ about the project.
- John Randall (Uxbridge and South Ruislip) – The former Deputy Chief Whip has said ‘there are other alternatives, which I believe have not been properly considered’.
- Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) – He recently told the BBC 5 Live ‘there is nothing in HS2 for north-west Leicestershire at all’.
- Dan Byles (Warwickshire North) – A campaigner with the ‘Stop HS2’ group, Byles pledged on his website never to vote for the line.
- Bill Cash (Stone) – Although Cash is one of the most rebellious Tory MPs, his Stone constituency will be significantly disrupted by the line. Cash has pledged to his local paper to ‘fight this dreadful HS2 plan’.
- Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) – Another campaigner with ‘Stop HS2’, Lefory has been fighting for the best possible compensation for his residents as well as trying to stop HS2 ever being built.
- Chris White (Warwick and Leamington) – One of the MPs who delivered a HS2 petition with 100k signatures to Downing Street, White said ‘I have made clear my position – I don’t believe High Speed Rail would be good for our community environmentally, socially or economically’.
- Christopher Pincher (Tamworth) – Pincher’s constituency will hit by the Leeds branch of HS2 in phase two. He told the Commons yesterday that building a ‘brand new railway line across virgin countryside in our part of the world just does not stack up.’
Some of the MPs below may represent constituencies close to HS2 but it will not directly affect their patch:
- Steve Baker (Wycombe) – Although HS2 isn’t due to go through Baker’s seat, he has been a vocal critic, arguing it will have a negative effect on the surrounding areas.
- John Redwood (Wokingham) – The former Wales Secretary and one-time leadership contender has questioned the economic case and questioned why the private sector isn’t investing in HS2.
- Andrew Tyrie (Chichester) – The chair of the Treasury Select Committee has pulled apart the project several times and said recently there are ‘serious shortcomings in the current cost-benefit analysis’ of HS2.
- John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) – Baron also voted against the HS2 Preparation bill last year.
- Chris Kelly (Dudley South) – Kelly told his local newspaper ‘my vote in the House of Commons reflected concern about the cost of the project which I fear will escalate further. I was under no illusion that the bill wouldn’t be passed’.
- Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) – Robertson has quizzed the Transport Secretary as to whether funds will be diverted from other projects, including those in his constituency
- Bob Blackman (Harrow East) – HS2 does not pass through Blackman’s constituency, nor has he said much about it. Blackman may however have been aiding his neighbour John Randall (see above).
- Mark Pawsey (Rugby) – Pawsey’s constituency would be bypassed by the line. Of HS2, he has said ‘I am not supportive of the proposals and do not feel they are justified in the current economic climate’.
- Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth & Horncastle) – The Father of House has stated no public reason for voting against HS2.
- James Gray (North Wiltshire) – Gray was a teller in the debate and signed a motion to prevent the HS2 Preparation Bill receive a second reading last year.
- Phillip Hollobone (Kettering) – 20 per cent rebellion rate
- Philip Davies (Shipley) – 20 per cent rebellion rate (Just lost his seat)
- Christopher Chope (Christchurch) – 20 per cent rebellion rate
- David Nuttall (Bury North) – 17 per cent rebellion rate
- Peter Bone (Wellingborough) – 15 per cent rebellion rate ( no longer with us)
- Sir Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills) – 12 per cent rebellion rate
- Julian Lewis (New Forest East) – 9 per cent rebellion rate
- Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight) – 8 per cent rebellion rate
Government completes U-turn to allow fracking under national parks, amid Tory rebellion
MPs have voted by 298 – 261 in favour of fracking under national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), World Heritage Sites, and Groundwater Protection Zones.
The vote saw a number of Conservative MPs rebel against the Government – although the full breakdown of how MPs voted is yet to be released. Greenpeace said the Government has broken its promise, having previously committed to an “outright ban” on fracking in protected areas.