Meet the youngest person to ever appear before Parliament

Be prepared… to square up to the Government

Many children enjoy whiling away the hours playing with trains – but one outspoken campaigner is lobbying against them. Yesterday, Alex Rukin petitioned a committee of MPs investigating the case for the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link between London, the Midlands and the North.

The nine-year-old told the HS2 Hybrid Bill Committee that the planned railway line was a “stupid” idea and accused HS2 officials of being “really bad at maths”.

Out of the mouths of babes?

He explained that it would cost more money than its supporters claim and that people of his age would end up footing the bill. Before his appearance, Alex stated in a petition: “Because the people at HS2 Ltd are really, really bad at maths and make things up that aren’t true, Your Petitioner is worried that HS2 will cost lots more than the people are saying.

“If HS2 costs more money and not enough people use it, Your Petitioner, like his classmates, will be the one paying for it in extra tax.”

Any other quibbles?

The young petitioner also complained that the proposed line would run over a viaduct opposite his mother’s house in Balsall Common, near Coventry, and would disrupt his sleep, while construction works threaten to affect roads in the area for many years.

His parents must be proud

Speaking in Parliament certainly trumps a gold star on your homework. Alex’s father, incidentally, is the manager of the Stop HS2 Campaign…

Fancy that!

Ahead of his son’s appearance, Joe Rukin said: “As far as we can tell Alex will become the youngest person to have ever appeared in an official capacity before parliament.”

He added: “After I explained what petitioning was, he said he thought everyone in the whole country should be doing it, because he thinks HS2 is such a bad idea, and the wrong thing to spend lots of money on. He is committed to doing something about something he thinks is wrong, and I’m really proud about that.”

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