Michael Fabricant is urging all county councillors in the midlands to get off the fence and engage in the debate into the route the proposed High Speed Train might take. Not to do so is "irresponsible" he says.
While he "respects" the stand that some Staffordshire County Councillors have taken to oppose the HS2 project in principle, Michael has begged them "not to bury your heads in the sand" and simply rely on the hope that the Coalition will abandon HS2. "I believe it would be an abrogation of my duty if I were not to fight hard to change Labour’s route to minimise the effect of the train line on my constituents" says Michael.
Michael has explained to councillors that it is wishful thinking to bank on MPs voting down HS2 when it is eventually debated in Parliament. "I know that some councillors believe that ‘a head of steam’ is building up against HS2, but nationally the numbers just don’t stack up" he says.
"All three main parties advocated a High Speed train service in their separate general election manifestos. The reality is that the vast majority of MPs do not have the line running through their constituencies, are completely unaffected by it, and support their party’s policy to link the north to the south. In a recent debate in the House of Commons, those MPs not affected by the route were strongly in favour of the line. So unless there is a further economic crisis, construction on HS2 will proceed in 2017.
"That is why I am concentrating my efforts on mitigating as far as possible the effect the route of the line will have on my constituents. Simply opposing the line in principle and taking no part in route planning is irresponsible and would abrogate my responsibilities as a constituency MP. That is just short term popularism and they won’t get any thanks in the long-term. I urge local councillors – and others – to engage constructively helping those whom they represent."
Michael Fabricant went on to praise the work of the Lichfield Action Group. "Although they originally took the view that simple opposition to the line would be enough, on meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport, they quickly realised they had to engage in constructive dialogue to get the route by Boley Park in Lichfield changed as well as opposing the route on principle. I think that Philip Hammond, Secretary of State, has taken the argument fully on board."