HS2

28.03.17

MP apologises for failing to declare interest during HS2 debates

An MP has apologised in the House of Commons for not declaring publicly that his house was set to be bought by HS2 Ltd when he opposed the high-speed rail project in a parliamentary debate.

HS2 Ltd offered to buy properties that would be seriously affected by construction of the new line under an ‘exceptional hardship scheme’, which Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, was signed up for.

In previous Parliaments, Bridgen had been vehemently against HS2, and had called the line a “white elephant project,” in 2015 during a parliamentary debate.

But now the MP has admitted in Parliament that he should have clearly disclosed his interest in HS2 at that time, as well as in October 2013 when he submitted a written question opposing HS2 to the transport secretary.

“Following a report made on 14 February by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, I would like to apologise to the House for the failure to disclose a financial interest in a Westminster Hall debate on High Speed 2 on 25 March 2015,” Bridgen announced in the Commons yesterday.

“I should have declared that, owing to a court order caused by my divorce, I was in the final act of selling my house to HS2 under the extreme hardship scheme.”

Bridgen did however point out that he did declare his interest in the project in debates on 28 January 2013, 26 June 2013 and 28 April 2014, but said that “on reflection” he should have declared his interest in October 2013 and during numerous meetings concerning HS2 between 2013 and 2015 which he attended where he did not declare his link to the planned rail link.

“I have sought to co-operate with the Commissioner for Standards throughout this inquiry. I have never made any secret of how close HS2 was running to my then property in north west Leicestershire,” said Bridgen.

“That in no way clouded my view of the HS2 project, which I opposed before the route was announced, during my interest and afterwards. I thank you for the opportunity to put this all on the record, and I apologise to the House profusely for any omissions I may have made.”

In addition to the exceptional hardship scheme, in February Camden council also announced it was in the process of building six new apartment blocks for residents affected by HS2 construction.

The news follows RTM reporting last week that the award of around £8.6bn worth of civil engineering contracts for HS2 had been pushed back from April to June by the company.

HS2 was given royal assent in Parliament at the end of February, effectively giving it the go-ahead for work to start as soon as possible. 

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

J, Leicester   29/03/2017 at 09:01

Andrew Bridgen on the whole has tried to make the best of a bad situation for Northwest Leicestershire from the HS2 project, albeit with limited success. His two recommendations - 1) to move the proposed East Midlands station to East Midlands Airport, allowing an interchange with international flights and the East Midlands Gateway freight terminal scheme and 2) to divert the funds saved from rerouting the line at this point, avoiding the need for a £300 million tunnel under the runway, to fund the reopening of the Leicester-Burton line to passenger traffic - were both great ideas which sadly fell on deaf ears. Frankly, I don't much care that he didn't declare that his house was sold - it's common knowledge anyway. At least he has done his best to stand up for the local area with regards to HS2 - one might even argue that his personal issues as a result of the route puts him in a better position to empathise with those along the route facing upheaval.

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Government gives ‘hugely important’ £208m Belfast Transport Hub the green light

22/03/2019Government gives ‘hugely important’ £208m Belfast Transport Hub the green light

A new £208m Belfast Transport Hub with major rail and bus connections has been granted planning permission by the Department of Infrastruct... more >
New to-the-minute measures for train punctuality introduced to tackle delays

22/03/2019New to-the-minute measures for train punctuality introduced to tackle delays

New measures of train punctuality are to be released by train operators and Network Rail next month in a bid to improve performance. The Rai... more >
FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward

22/03/2019FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward

FirstGroup has finalised a £100m order for Hitachi AT300 electric trainsets in a partnership between the two companies to create a new Lond... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

The West Midlands 30-year strategy

19/03/2019The West Midlands 30-year strategy

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), outlines the West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy 2018-2047. The West Midlands Rail Executive was formed three years ago to give local authorities a direct influence over the award of the region’s main rail franchise. Working with the Department for Transpo... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >
East West Rail: the next steps

19/03/2019East West Rail: the next steps

In January, five route options for the central section of East West Rail were published as part of a public consultation on the next phase of the... more >
Rail's role in transit-orientated developments

19/03/2019Rail's role in transit-orientated developments

Jonathan Bray, director at the Urban Transport Group (UTG), argues that transit-oriented developments are the future – and that rail has a ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >