Mentson and Burley MP shows his opposition to HS2 with no vote

MP Philip Davies

MP Philip Davies

First published in Local news

Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale MP Philip Davies was among more than 30 Conservative MPs who defied the Government whips to back a wrecking amendment to the High Speed 2 legislation.

Some 32 MPs voted in favour of Cheryl Gillan’s amendment, which was defeated 451 to 50, majority 401.

The HS2 Bill had its second reading in Parliament late on Monday night. The legislation will grant the powers to build and operate the first phase of the line, between London and Birmingham, to be completed by 2026.

A ‘Y-shaped’ network will deliver extra lines to Leeds and Manchester, but not until 2033, after calls to start work from the North – as well as from London – were rebuffed.

Mr Davies restated his opposition, saying: “I believe HS2 is a huge waste of money that we simply cannot afford and is likely to simply extend the commuter belt for London.

“Money would be much better spent on local infrastructure projects, such as a Shipley Eastern Bypass.”

But fellow Conservative Kris Hopkins, the Ilkley MP and Housing Minister, has thrown his support behind the planned new high speed North-South rail link which will be the first new railway line to be built north of London for 120 years, linking eight of Britain’s largest cities.

Mr Hopkins said: “I have long been a strong advocate of the new link and firmly believe that it make a significant and very positive impact on our economy in the North.

“We face a capacity crisis on our railways and HS2 is needed to deal with this.

“Demand for long-distance rail travel has doubled over the past decade and a half, with the total number of all rail journeys across the country now in excess of 1.5 billion a year – double what it was in the mid-1990s.

“And HS2 is just one part of the current Government’s work to improve our transport system.

“We are investing more than £70 billion in all forms of transport by 2021 – £56 billion on roads, rail and local transport in addition to the £16.5 billion being spent on HS2.

“Indeed, we are tripling spending on major road projects and will spend more on roads than on HS2 each year for the next seven years. £38.5 billion is also being invested in our railways over the next five years, including £16 billion of Government support.

“However, HS2 will serve as a vital economic catalyst for businesses in the North to expand, compete and create new prosperity and jobs, providing greater financial security for families.”

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