HS2 (1)

MQT on 2014-02-26
Session date: 
February 26, 2014
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


On 23rd January at a public meeting to protest against HS2 a local resident, one   Stanley Johnson, said HS2 was creating a kind of wartime collective spirit in Camden and it was time to "rise up".  He added "We are all talking to each other in the street. No one ever used to talk to each other. Now we are, we are talking about HS2. We need people of Camden to man the barricades. The 100,000s who live here need to rise up and say: 'Camden will fight.  If we don't fight for Camden who else will?"." He added "Anybody here know the Mayor of London?"  Do you know this militant individual who does not seem to know you and what do you think of his view on HS2?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for HS2 (1)

Answer for HS2 (1)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Yes, thank you so much.  Andrew has asked a question about High Speed 2 (HS2), which is about the intervention of my father.  I am obliged to you, as ever, Andrew, for reducing the debate to this level, but my view on HS2 is basically what you are asking for.  As you know, I broadly support the scheme, but I have huge reservations about some of the ways it is being done.  There could be a better HS2.  You have to have a proper HS2/HS1 link.  You have to look at better mitigations in the west of the city.  I am very concerned about some of the impacts in the Camden area.  The criticisms that have been made of the Labour Party by my relative are entirely right and I congratulate him on histrenchant views. 


Andrew Dismore AM:  I take it from your answer that you will not be donning your Phrygian cap and joining them on the barricades bare-breasted, Marianne-style, à la Eugène Delacroix [artist, Liberty Leading the People], but what is more important is whether you will be joining the Camden Working Group on alternative options for the use of the station that was announced yesterday where they want to look at other alternatives?  Obviously, their position is against HS2, but the fall-back position is to see what can be salvaged. 


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Are you against HS2?


Andrew Dismore AM:  They are looking at the baseline plan and double-deck down.  Will you be joining that working party and will you also be prepared, if necessary, to put some finance behind the research work they are doing to look at the technical aspects of those other schemes?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We already have.  I am sure you know this.  We already have set up a group that is working with Camden Council, with HS2, with Network Rail and with all the relevant parties to try to minimise the impacts.  I am absolutely determined that we should do that.


Whether double-deck down is the answer is a moot point at the moment.  I am certainly interested in it.  It is basically the idea like in Grand Central Station that you have one deck and then another deck.  I am certainly interested in that.  However, there are various technical objections that are being raised at the moment.  We will have to get to the bottom of that. 


Andrew Dismore AM:  The question is whether you will work with Camden in looking at those technical issues.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I had Sarah Hayward [Leader, Camden Council] in the other day and I understand her position completely.  It is slightly different from mine, but it is a perfectly respectable position.  She has to stick up for her immediate electorate.  What is slightly less clear is the position of the Labour Party, I must say, as a whole.  You are in favour of HS2, are you?


Andrew Dismore AM:  No, I am not in favour of HS2, unlike your Government, which is.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Unlike your party, which is?


Andrew Dismore AM:  Your Government and your coalition.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What about your party?  What is your party position on HS2?


Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  It is up to Andrew to put the question.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Is he going to maintain a Delphic silence on this?  Yes or no?  Is Labour in favour of HS2?


Andrew Dismore AM:  Your Government is in favour of HS2.  I am not.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What is the position of Labour?