LICHFIELD MP Michael Fabricant has branded the current planned route of HS2 as “completely wrong” after resigning as Government Whip.
While Lichfield district residents have been split in their speculation over what the MPs real feelings are towards HS2 for months, he now appears to have revealed the true extent of his opposition.
It comes after the MP resigned as Government Whip this week - he was appointed pairing whip after the 2005 election - saying he had the “seven-year itch”.
But he has also revealed he stepped down to gain “more freedom” to speak publicly on issues affecting his constituents, including on HS2.
The MP, who has received harsh criticism from some anti-HS2 residents over his handling of the district’s case, said: “As a Government Minister, I’ve been constrained and unable to raise certain issues publicly.
"It’s been hugely frustrating. Most importantly of all, I want to be able to raise issues in the House of Commons Chamber that directly affect the daily lives of my constituents. One such issue is HS2.
“I strongly believe the route of the high speed line is completely wrong. In my view, the route should not carve its way through unspoiled countryside. It will cause environmental damage not only to southern Staffordshire, but also other sensitive areas like the Chilterns.
“With a rethink on the third runway at Heathrow, it’s now even more important that the route be re-assessed.”
He added: “I personally favour the route the Conservatives supported back in Opposition using existing transport corridors; namely, the M40 and M6 route which would minimise the environmental impact and avoid Lichfield district which has had more than its fair share of infrastructure projects over the years.
“It is strange we have adopted Labour Government’s planned route which, it would seem, was designed to damage as much countryside as possible.
"I will do all that I can to ensure the route is changed back to the original route when it is considered by the House of Commons Bill Committee when it sits in 2013 and beyond.”