Labour reinforces support for HS2 and calls for Northern cities to be included in Bill

Shadow Transport Minister Maria Eagle

Labour is firmly behind proposals to build a high speed rail link from Birmingham to London.

Shadow Transport Minister Maria Eagle reiterated the importance of the scheme to the whole country and again pressed for the Government to present a hybrid bill that committed to building as far as Manchester and Leeds.

She had a clear message to opponents to the scheme who may have pointed to Labour’s proposed amendments.

“We will not disrupt or delay (HS2),” she said.

“We think they may have missed options, but we will be supporting the Government’s proposals.”

Ms Eagle was speaking at the Transport Times event, Making HS2 Happen at London Transport Museum on January 26.

She said HS2 would bring huge benefits to cities in the Midlands and North and release capacity on existing lines for local, regional and freight services.

She also highlighted the importance of the link between HS2 and HS1 to ensure connections between the Midlands, North and Europe.

Professor David Begg, who chaired the debate, said it was excellent to hear continuing and unwavering cross-party support on HS2.

Ms Eagle has been a strong supporter of high speed rail from the outset and spoke of her wish for ensuring Leeds and Manchester were included in forthcoming legislation at the Labour party conference in Liverpool last September.

She told the audience:

“Let’s set out a long term strategy for investing in our rail infrastructure.

No more talk of classic rail, but a network transformed with a programme to complete electrification and introduce a new generation of high speed inter-city trains. And, yes, let’s also tackle capacity problems between north and south. And in the only credible way it can be done.”


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