UKIP’s Transport spokesman has called for an urgent investigation into the working methods of HS2 rail bosses after they were accused of snooping into the private lives of their opponents.
A report in a national newspaper claims the HS2 team has been accessing ‘personal data’ including details of people’s sexual orientation, trade union affiliation, criminal records and information about their physical and mental health. As part of the company’s Privacy Notice, the Sunday Express said HS2 could collect this information on their own staff and suppliers – as well as those claiming compensation or objecting to the scheme.
UKIP’s Jill Seymour MEP said: “If these reports are true, serious questions need to be asked about the morals and the motives of the HS2 organisation.
“The only reason they could possibly be trying to get hold of this information is to potentially smear the reputations of those who oppose to their plans.
“They know only too well that there is no sound business case for HS2 – this report suggests that the overpaid taxpayer-funded officials have now resorted to collecting ammunition which could presumably be used to bully opponents into silence.”
Within hours of the newspaper’s investigation, HS2 withdrew the controversial Privacy Notice from the Government website where it had been freely available, and pledged to carry out an audit to ensure it did not hold any ‘inappropriate’ information.
But Mrs Seymour said: “The damage has already been done. This has exposed the dubious ethics of an organisation which it seems will do anything in its power to steamroller the HS2 project through – whether the public wants it or not.
“This is very troubling. The Government must carry out a far-reaching inquiry to find out what else the HS2 team has been snooping into – and the public should be told.
“There is already a wide-reaching suspicion about this vanity project among people who feel their legitimate concerns are not being listened to. This report does nothing to allay their fears.
“There is no reason whatsoever why HS2 should need to gather sensitive information about people’s sexuality, religion, political views or other activities. To suggest otherwise is frankly arrogant, and utterly unbelievable.”