Collective responsibility - HS2 style

That's a bit different!

HS2 critic Cheryl Gillan has just added a bit of extra spice to her opposition to the paving bill for the controversial rail scheme, by speaking on behalf of two serving ministers and Mr Speaker Bercow and raising some of their concerns about the impact in their constituency.

The Speaker, in the chair at the time, didn't bat an eyelid as the former Cabinet minister said she'd been asked by Europe Minister David Lidington to mention the effects on parts of his Aylesbury seat, then she added that she knew Mr Bercow had his concerns in his Buckingham domain and that the Attorney General Dominic Grieve was worried about the effect on Beaconsfield.

As ministers it is very difficult for them to get their reservations - which might be read by some suspicious minds as outright opposition - on the record, for constituency consumption. But given that Ukip did pretty well in Aylesbury, in particular, in the May local elections, it was probably quite important for them that their position was advertised in the Chamber.

And it is harder still for Mr Speaker to take a public view, especially when actually chairing the debate. It was all very low key, no drama, no gasps - but it was a virtuoso manoeuvre to rank with any Coalition shenanigans pulled by the Lib Dems. It is collective responsibility, Jim, but not as we know it.

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