September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
MPs have voted against a proposal for the controversial HS2 rail link between London and West Midlands to be scrapped.
Despite 34 conservative MPs voting against the government, the bill was passed in the House of Commons, which could now see work on the £50 billion scheme start in 2017.
The HS2 bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday (April 28) after MPs rejected a proposal led by ex-minister Cheryl Gillian for the plan to be halted by 451 votes to 50.
Speaking after the vote, Gillan said: "This is a large number of MPs unconvinced that HS2 is the solution to our country's infrastructure problems.
"Government should realise that this project will be closely scrutinised every step of the way.
"Many colleagues also abstained this evening, which shows that the scepticism of this project runs much more deeply than the voting figures suggest."
Transport minister Robert Goodwill called the vote an "important step" in taking the controversial project forward.
“HS2 will help drive this country forward, it will create new capacity and enable better use of existing transport corridors, it will join up our cities and strengthen our economy, and as a result, it will help open up opportunities, currently held back by lack of investment,” Goodwill said.
Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, said he would not dismiss opponents of HS2 and promised a more generous compensation scheme for those whose properties are affected.
"I have made it clear to my officials that there is no place for talk of luddites or nimbys in the department or HS2 Ltd," he said. "We must respect people and try to help meet their concerns.”
Misleading the publicA study published on Monday (April 28) from centre-right think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs found the government risks misleading the public with claims that HS2 will transform the North of England.
The study claims it has found flaws in the government’s favoured justification for a new high-speed rail link connecting London with the North of England.
The results show that it’s “extremely unlikely” HS2 will “bring about economic transformation in the north”.