Launch Press Release

30 September 2016

 INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE STANDS IN WITNEY BY-ELECTION TO OPPOSE HS2

 Nicholas Ward has announced that he is standing in the Witney by-election on 20 October as an Independent candidate opposed to HS2, the Government’s proposed high speed rail line from London to Birmingham and then on to Manchester and Leeds. He wants the project to be cancelled and greater priority to be given to improve the existing rail network, with any surplus going to the NHS.

 HS2 is currently estimated to cost around £56 billion of taxpayers’ money, but Nicholas believes that the real cost will be very much higher and that the business case is flawed.

 He says “The Witney by-election could be the last chance for an electorate to have its say in how such an enormous sum of taxpayers’ money is spent. There are many better ways of spending this money. If HS2 is not stopped very quickly, work will start in April 2017”.

 The EU Referendum has shown that voters are very able to ignore misleading information fed to them by government. Electing a party backbencher to represent the Witney constituency will achieve little, but turning the by-election into a referendum on HS2 could have a lasting effect. The greater the number of electors in the Witney constituency who vote for Nicholas, the greater the chance that the major parties in Parliament will listen.

 

Nicholas hopes to turn the by-election into a “Bye-HS2” election:-

  • HS2 will bring no benefit whatsoever to the residents of Oxfordshire. The nearest stations will be at Solihull and West London.
  • HS2 does not pass through the Witney constituency, but West Oxfordshire is not an island, and its residents will be affected by what HS2 does miles away from them.
  • HS2 will do huge permanent damage to beautiful English countryside and ancient woodlands, and to communities, heritage assets and businesses as it flattens large parts of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, and Warwickshire.
  • HS2 will create massive increases in traffic on the A361, the M40, the A43 and the A422 during the decade-long construction period. This will lead to increased journey times for Witney constituency residents travelling to and from places to the east of the HS2 line and London and the South-East. Other Oxfordshire roads will have to take increased volumes of traffic as drivers try to find ways around the main congestion black spots.

 For further details of Nicholas’s campaign, please visit his campaign website at http://www.independent-against-hs2.co.uk/

Nicholas and his wife, Veronica, have had their family home at Greatworth in Northamptonshire for some 34 years.  Greatworth is about 15 miles outside the Witney constituency, is closely linked to Banbury and is in the Oxfordshire postal area.  They also have a home in London.

Nicholas is retired from a long career in business and the public and voluntary sectors. His public appointments have included six years as a non-executive director of the NHS Regional Health Authority which covered Oxfordshire and two years as a Public Member of Network Rail.

 If elected, Nicholas will work for the cancellation of HS2. In all other matters, he will act as an Independent MP and will vote on each issue on the basis of what he sees as the merits of the case.

 Nicholas stood as an Independent candidate opposed to HS2 in the Westminster North constituency at the 2015 General Election. It is very difficult for independent candidates to attract attention at a General Election but Nicholas aims to have more success in the Witney by-election.

 Anyone who would like to help Nicholas in his campaign in Witney is asked to contact him at nicholasward@independent-against-hs2.co.uk

 END