Labour firms up commitment to High Speed 2

LABOUR yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway, following weeks of speculation that it could drop support for the new north-south link.

Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh told the House of Commons that Labour are the “the true friends of HS2”, despite recent speculation that shadow chancellor Ed Balls was willing to cancel the £50bn project on cost grounds.

“Ministers have been trundling along and it’s time for more urgency,” Creagh insisted. “It will fall to the next Labour government to build HS2, on time and on budget.”

Her intervention came as MPs voted in favour of providing funding for preliminary work on the route by a margin of 350 to 32.

The railway, first proposed by Labour in 2009, would be struggle to gain parliamentary approval without the continued backing of all three major parties.

Earlier this week Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said support for the line from London to the midlands and the north would be a non-negotiable aspect of any coalition deal after the 2015 general election.

David Cameron remains committed to the scheme.