Cabinet Minister

Ministers’ call for veto on release of report that sheds HS2 project in bad light.

Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude and Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, have come under fire after a leaked letter to David Cameron, detailing their urge to veto the release of the project assessment review on HS2.

The letter reveals their concerns about the release of the report and believe it will cause “political and presentational” problems, if the document is released to the public.

Earlier in the year, the Information Commissioner stated that the documents should be released, but the government appealed against the decision, and will appear for a tribunal hearing later in the week.

In 2011, the project was placed under the amber/red category.

The controversial project is rumoured to have rising costs, and is expected to go over the expected £50billion budget.

The Department of Transport had previously refused disclosure of the review to the public and MPs, despite numerous requests under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act. The department state that: “disclosure of the information would not be in the public interest.”

If the veto gets the go ahead, neither the public or MPs would have access to the information.

According to the Daily Mail, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said: “It is absolutely disgraceful that the Government doesn’t want MPs, who should be fully informed before voting on the colossal expenditure HS2 entails, to actually have all the information about the project.”

HS2 is considered controversial for a number of reasons, including the rising cost of the project, and the governments ability to knock down homes and parks, to make way for new railway tracks, if the bill is passed through parliament successfully.

Phase 1, is destined to run from London to the West Midlands, and is expected to be completed by 2024. With Phase 2, continuing to the North East of England, which is expected to be completed around 2032.