'I will always vote how I see fit’, says MP after rebel vote
BURY North MP David Nuttall has revealed why he rebelled in a Westminster vote over plans for a high-speed rail line.
Mr Nuttall was one of 37 MPs who opposed the idea in a House of Commons vote on June 26, and there were other Conservative colleagues who also voted the against the plan.
However, the vote was passed, and a Y-shaped train track linking Leeds and Manchester with London via Birmingham will now be built, with a scheduled opening time of 2032.
It is estimated journey times will be cut by an hour.
Mr Nuttall defied a three-line whip to vote ‘no’, incurring the wrath of Conservative Party bosses.
He explained: “I am always going to vote the way I see fit.
“If they wanted someone to just vote with the whip all the time, they could have got a Burton’s dummy in.
“And I’m not a Burton’s dummy. I know that voting my own way isn’t going to get me a promotion, but then I have no interest in becoming Minister for Paperclips.”
Mr Nuttall continued: “High-speed rail is a 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem.
“People predict that it will bring more trade north, but where is the evidence?
“I worry that it will persuade more people to close their Manchester offices and move south.
“This is already looking like it is going to cost almost £50 billion, which works out at more than £1,000 for every one of my constituents.
“Yet I have not met one of my constituents who have told me that they have had problems getting a ticket on the existing Manchester-to-London train.
He added: “I hope it is a success, but I just cannot see the logic, and the problem with it is that all parties have agreed with the idea, so there has not been enough scrutiny of the evidence before this decision was made.”
Transport minister Simon Burns said: “Demand for long-distance rail travel has doubled to 125 million journeys a year in the past 15 years and by the mid-2020s the West Coast Main Line will be completely full.
“HS2 will provide the capacity needed in a way that will support thousands of jobs and billions of pounds worth of economic benefits.”
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