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Exclusive: Under-fire minister explains to local party why he’s missing HS2 vote

28 April 2014

While some ministers have mysteriously disappeared today so that they don’t have to vote in favour of the high-speed rail line that will cut through their constituencies, Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd is busy explaining to his disgruntled local party why he isn’t turning up to vote on legislation which affects his constituency of Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner but which he supports.

I understand that Hurd has told local party members that though he thinks HS2 may be in the national interest, he understands their concerns about the link, and wants to try to get the very best deal for his constituents on compensation and the environmental impact of the line.

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Hurd has not yet made a public statement of his position, but has told local colleagues privately that he will not attend the debate or the vote and that he doesn’t think leaving the Government would make any difference at all to the detail of the HS2 Bill and its impact on Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. He has said he will make this clear to the press today, but hasn’t yet.

Hurd is in a particularly difficult position because he has not yet been readopted by his association for the 2015 general election. His neighbour John Randall, now a backbencher after leaving the whips’ office in the last reshuffle, will be voting against the legislation, which hardly makes things easier for Hurd. He has acknowledged that he will suffer from ‘grumbling’ as a result of  his stance (or non-stance, which is what he’s trying to achieve by not voting at all). But I am told by local party members that he has endured bruising meetings with local ward associations, and the Harefield Ward Association is threatening to move a vote of no confidence against him as a result of his stance.

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  • Tim Reed

    “and the Harefield Ward Association is threatening to move a vote of no confidence against him as a result of his stance.”

    Good. We need more of this sort of local action. If your MP refuses to even represent you as a constituent, then cause as much trouble as possible for him/her as you can.

  • Mynydd

    Why single out Mr Hurd, he is only one of a number ministers who will not turn up for the vote. The pressure is now on Mr Cameron to show real leadership and, kick out from the government, those ministers who do not vote for the second reading, and remove the whip from those Conservative MPs who also do not vote in accordance to the 3 line whip. Does Mr Cameron have the strength of character to discipline those ministers and MP who do not obey the said 3 line whip. Conversely will those ministers who do not vote in favour have the strength of character to resign their post.

  • keith

    ah the greasy pole to the top is more important than his continuance, they are only a stepping stone for another mediocrity to fill his boots, just another yes man, i hope when election time comes he will get his comeuppance, mind you someone who worked as chief of staff for Tim Yeo is hardly going to have picked up good habits

  • Dougie

    If he supports HS2 he should be voting for it. Simple as that.

  • Mark McIntyre

    NO2 HS2 – missing inaction !

  • In2minds

    his Father Hurd Junior is a europhile. So he will say HS2 is good for
    the UK but what he really means is the EU.

  • ScaryBiscuits

    I was on the selection committee for Windsor when Hurd Junior and Adam Afriyie were the final two. Despite his flaws, I am still very pleased that we chose the latter and remain baffled why Hurd even made it to the final two (although many of the old blue rinse brigade did love him).

    Adam, of course, has already been deservedly reselected, whereas I hope Hurd won’t be. It’s not just that Hurd’s in favour of HS2, it’s the rest of the Green Crap and his general Cameroon detachment from the real world and lefty views on everything. At the selection meeting he gave some weasel words on the EU that made clear to me he was a Europhile. He makes his dad look like a raving fruitcake right-winger. I hope his constituency chooses somebody who is more than an hereditary Conservative, more than a Conservative in name only for the next election.

    • ajibee

      Indeed, though RN, and now RN&P, have a poor record on selecting candidates that represent the average person, with the last three, including Hurd, all being old Etonians (which is okay individually, but a bit of a coincidence three times in a row), with the dire timeserver John Wilkinson being selected over John Major, who went on to better things. Still, looking at Hurd’s marital record, honour is not one of his highlights. Nepotism? He’s heard of it…

  • HookesLaw

    You are nothing if not obsessive Ms Hardman

  • Guest

    “Hurd is in a particularly difficult position because he has not yet been readopted by his association for the 2015 general election.”
    It doesn’t actually make any difference, except for the relatively minor inconvenience of having a few awkward conversations. Formal “adoption” meetings may sustain a façade of democratic participation for party members, but the procedure has ceased to have any locally-enforceable significance since the implementation of the Hague reforms and the introduction of a party constitution. Prior to that, adoption by a local association was final: now CCHQ and the Party Board can override an association and impose a candidate if they wish.

    • ScaryBiscuits

      True in theory but it’s a bit more difficult for Cameron in practice as with UKIP about he still needs to win the seat and if imposes a candidate, as the party did in Slough, you just lose all chance of the seat for a decade or more. Tim Yeo has been successfully deselected so it is worth the effort if local members fancy somebody who better represents their views.

  • Rhoda Klapp8


    • you_kid

      Conviction weasel.
      He and many others believe in weaseling.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …how are they with goating?

        • you_kid

          is this code for I need help

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …it depends on what you’re doing with that goat, lad.

    • monty61

      Insult to weasels I would say. But in general I agree.

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