‘It’s a living nightmare’: Parliament’s anti-HS2 ringleader emerges

Commuters will see their rail fares continue to rise to pay for the new high speed rRail line, its leading parliamentary critic has said.

Former Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan, who was reportedly told she was being dropped from the job while the prime minister drank a glass of red wine, is emerging as the leading critic of the scheme in Westminster.

"Of course some will benefit from HS2 and will welcome the project, yet there will now be many thousands more who lose out because of it," she wrote in the Telegraph.

"They woke on Monday morning to the living nightmare my constituents have experienced since March 2010 and it is a nightmare that does not go away."

Yesterday saw the northern portions of the line unveiled on a day which the government promoted by holding a Cabinet meeting outside London.

Most media outlets were broadly supportive of the project as a solid example of the type of capital infrastructure spending which could revive the economy and bring the UK transport network up to the level enjoyed by advanced European and Asian economies.

But people whose properties are in the way of the route – or who worry about its effect on areas of outstanding natural beauty, like the Chilterns – have vociferously opposed the move.

Gillan said many of her constituents had seen the value of their homes plummet.

"The provisions for compensation the government has put in place have done little to reassure the market or those blighted by the line," she added.

The Buckinghamshire MP also mocked the decision to press ahead with the project when no decision had been reached on an extension to Heathrow.

"It seems utterly backwards to begin a project of this magnitude when a vital part of its design is still up for debate," she wrote.

"The decision to move ahead without a clear idea of how HS2 will integrate with the UK's future hub airport looks to be little more than a case of putting the cart before the horse."