Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin has exercised a veto on publication of a report pertaining to HS2, this veto is a rare veto seen as the nuclear option in this sort of case – to keep the HS2 report under wraps.
This veto has only been used a handful of times, including the blocking of publication of cabinet discussions on the Iraq War, the NHS risk register, and letters from Prince Charles to Cabinet members. This is the first time the veto has been used in relation to a ruling made by the Information Commissioner on environmental grounds, and comes the very day after Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude claimed in Parliament that the Government record on releasing information under freedom of information requests is “good”.
UKIP County Councillor Chris Adams said: “This document from November 2011 has been blocked, so we the public cannot see it’s contents. What a disgraceful mess especially when MPs will not be fully informed about the huge expenses that will be occurred in this vanity project. Obviously there is some bad news in the report and the Government wants to bury bad news, keeping the HS2 disaster on track.
“Secrecy and withholding of information kills governments – especially in an era when public and business alike are deeply suspicious of politicians” UKIP has never supported the HS2 route, the three old parties want to spend £50-£80 Billion on this one train line and we say why not use some of that money to improve the whole rail network for everyone. I believe that it is in the public’s interest to release all documents relating to this vanity project. Just what are the government trying to hide?”