Well, there’s a thing...me finding myself agree with a member of the House of Lords. I never thought I’d see that.

Yes folks, it’s good old HS2 and The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee which wants the Government to scrap the plans to build the high speed line through Cheshire and upgrade the existing mainline instead.

And their lordships want the Government to get a grip on costs for HS2 to ensure there’s enough cash left to spend on the north – where peers say the investment is needed most urgently.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, believes the costs of HS2 ‘do not appear to be under control’ and that the Government’s current plans will benefit London before the north.

He said: “The north is being short-changed by the Government’s present plans, especially as construction on HS2 is starting in the south. Any overcrowding relief from HS2 will mainly benefit London commuters.”

The thing about HS2 is it brings together some strange bedfellows.

I think it’s fair to say I am not a massive fan of the political stance of Tatton MP Esther McVey, particularly about Brexit, but I do find myself (somewhat uncomfortably I may add) being in complete agreement with her about HS2.

Back in the heady days of November 2015 and fresh from her appointment as the Government’s deputy chief whip, Ms McVey raised concerns about HS2 at a public meeting in Rudheath.

In front of an audience of residents and alongside representatives from HS2 Ltd and Mid Cheshire Against HS2, she challenged the purpose of the proposed railway from London to Manchester – which is expected to be running in 15 years.

As reported by Local Democracy Reporter Stephen Topping, she said: “When I look at what HS2 is about I ask what problem is it trying to solve?

“We’ve been told it is about improving public health, about improving speed, about improving capacity.

“What exactly is the problem we are solving with HS2? And what might have seemed like the right solution in 2010 [when the scheme was announced] – is that still the right solution in 2030?

“Communication, technology, all these things are changing. Are people still wanting to move across the country, north to south?

“We need services across the north and we don’t want that broken down by high-speed railway to London, we need services across the north to come first.”

The completed HS2 line – which will be built in phases between London and Birmingham, then north to Crewe, and finally through mid Cheshire to Manchester – is expected to cost £56 billion.

But a report commissioned by the Department for Transport and released in July 2017 claimed the final cost could be as high as £111 billion.

The Government has so far insisted HS2 will be delivered on budget, but Ms McVey suggested the business case should be looked at again.

“We need to look at the business case again, the cost we believe might now be more than £100 billion,” she said.

“There might be a business case for HS2 at £56 billion, but at any cost? I don’t think so.

“We’ve asked HS2 ‘can you do it?’ We’ve written them a blank cheque and of course they will tell you they can do it if you are writing them a blank cheque.”

Through gritted teeth all I can say is I agree with every word from Ms McVey.

I have made my position on HS2 very clear but to summarise: I think it is a national vanity project that should be scrapped immediately (a view also put forward by Jacob Rees-Mogg when he appeared on Question Time – I told you there were some strange bedfellows here). It will only benefit London, in effect making large parts of the county dormitory towns for the capital.

Talent will be drained from the north, where it is needed, to London and we northerners will lose out again.

If the government has that eye-watering amount of money to throw about, it should be spending it on improving east-west transport links in the north.

As a side note, I was meant to be going to central London this week for a meeting with a charity. I knew the start time but the finishing time was open-ended so I would have had to have got an ‘anytime’ return ticket.

Even booking in advance, the cheapest ticket was £325 (yep £325, way more than I paid for my summer holiday flight to Mallorca).

The organisation I was supposed to be meeting said it would cover expenses up to £100 (fair enough, it is a charity after all).

Doing my sums, by the time I’d paid to park and bought my Underground ticket, I would have been the best part of £250 out of pocket. I ended up declining to attend.

So if Virgin Rail can charge £325 for an ‘ordinary’ train ticket to London, exactly how much is a ‘High Speed’ going to cost?

By Guardian columnist The Fly in the Ointment