The Sunday Telegraph
The Tories have misjudged the mood in their southern heartlands
SIR – There is little doubt that the relaxation of planning laws, along with the HS2 white elephant project, cost the Conservatives the Chesham and Amersham by-election.
Communities throughout the route have seen property, woodlands and habitats destroyed, just so that an elite few can cut half an hour off their train journeys. The billions earmarked for this scheme would have been much better spent on upgrading existing lines and reopening some of those closed under Beeching.
This Conservative defeat may not be the last.
SIR – The Conservatives have paid the price for pursuing the cripplingly expensive vanity project that is HS2.
Everywhere on the route, communities are being blighted by noisy, intrusive construction that will continue for years to come.
People in northern Red Wall communities don’t see anything positive about HS2 either, because its completion is so far away and its benefits so unclear.
It was a Labour idea which the Conservatives had many opportunities to cull. But they failed to do so – and now the chickens are coming home to roost.
SIR – Will the Liberal Democrats take the hint and make the cancellation of this costly, harmful project a national policy – or will Boris Johnson beat them to it?
SIR – I wonder how many former Conservative voters in Chesham and Amersham voted Lib Dem because they were thoroughly fed up with the Government’s over-the-top Covid laws and wanted to retaliate by taking a Tory scalp.
I have voted Conservative for 45 years – but if I lived there I would have voted Lib Dem as well. Good luck to ’em.
Peter Holt Wellington, Shropshire
SIR – Labour stopped listening to the people and lost to the Conservatives.
It seems very likely that this Conservative Government is now being punished over its handling of the pandemic, and its inaction over illegal cross-Channel migration. It too has stopped listening to the people, and indeed many of its own MPs.
Perhaps the Government thinks it has time (and seats) to spare. But that is no excuse for taking voters for granted. David Rammell
SIR – Given that we appear to have pseudo Lib Dems and Greens running the country at the moment, perhaps the constituents of Chesham and Amersham thought they might just as well vote for the real thing.