Come on Camden Labour, join Tories in the fight to scrap HS2
02 January, 2020
• I WAS delighted to see a large number of Conservative MPs unite to re-form the HS2 Review Group in the aftermath of the general election to push for HS2 to be scrapped.
I have met with almost all of these MPs and made the case against HS2 over the years, and it’s clear that strong advocacy by Camden Conservatives is altering views within the Conservative Party, where party members nationally back scrapping HS2 by two-to-one.
I hope it is sufficient to ensure HS2 is scrapped in its entirety in the coming months. We know the Oakervee Review of HS2 has been flawed, but the more MPs publicly come out against HS2, the more likely it is to be scrapped whatever the outcome of Oakervee.
The contrast with Camden’s two Labour MPs and its Labour-run council could not be starker. In 2015, Camden Labour bargained away its opposition to HS2 in exchange for assurances about mitigation.
It is increasingly clear that Camden Labour privately back HS2 because they think they can hide behind “mitigation” and blame others if it goes ahead. That is not responsible, as mitigation is nowhere near as good for our borough or our country as scrapping HS2 altogether.
So we in Camden Conservatives will keep fighting for HS2 to be scrapped and for billions of the £100bn that would save to be put into Regent’s Park, Somers Town, and where blight has occurred along the route. But there is one opportunity for Labour to do right.
Holborn and St Pancras’s own MP Sir Keir Starmer is, of course, standing for Labour leader. He hasn’t opposed HS2 in Parliament since 2016 and hasn’t changed Labour’s position despite being one of the party’s leading lights under Corbyn, but he can make scrapping HS2 a key part of his platform so every Labour MP opposes it if he wins.
It is a position that will be rewarded by the public nationally and welcomed here in Camden. So how about it, Keir – isn’t it time to follow Camden Conservatives’ lead and fight to make it party policy to scrap HS2?
CLLR OLIVER COOPER
Leader, Camden Conservatives