Andrew Smith is a Conservative Councillor in Westminster. He was born and brought up in Yorkshire and is a Westminster-based public affairs consultant. Follow Andrew on Twitter here.
The former Transport Secretary and Chancellor Alistair Darling’s intervention into the debate on HS2 is yet another high profile former supporter coming out in opposition, following in the footsteps of his Labour colleagues Lord Mandelson, who has also called for the scheme to be abandoned and Ed Balls who has made sceptical noises about costs.
As Tim Montgomerie has pointed out, the opposition to HS2 is becoming a very broad coalition bringing together these recent Labour converts with leading Conservatives such as Boris Johnson, a range of MPs whose constituencies the line will pass through and an increasingly energetic UKIP campaign against the link.
The latest spate of opposition to the scheme has followed recent increases in the estimated cost of the project. Especially suggestions that the latest £43 billion price tag that the Government have put on the scheme will be dwarfed by final costs of be £70 or even £80 billion.
Given the growing economic and political opposition to the scheme people are perhaps right to ask, wouldn’t the rational thing be for the Chancellor to pull the plug on the scheme, as many believe he was planning to do last summer?