Tuesday 10 September 2019 1:02 pm

Lords approved HS2 Birmingham-Crewe extension before parliament shutdown

The House of Lords last night approved the High Speed Two (HS2) extension from Birmingham to Crewe before parliament was suspended for five weeks.

The controversial railway, which will link London to the north in stages, is currently subject to an independent review chaired by former HS2 chair Douglas Oakervee and critic Lord Berkeley, which could see the entire scheme scrapped.

Read more: Minister will make ‘go, no-go’ decision on HS2 in December

Last week transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed to MPs that HS2 could cost around £88bn, more than £30bn more than its official price tag of £56bn.

The first phase of HS2, which will link London to Birmingham, was due to finish in 2026 but is now could open between 2028 and 2031, while the second phase, from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, has also been delayed.

That stage was due to open between 2032 and 2033, but has been pushed back to open between 2035 and 2040.

The HS2 bill for the Birmingham to Crewe route was approved at second reading, with the Lords also agreeing to a carry-over motion to continue to debate once parliament resumes on 14 October. The bill will then reach committee stage, where members will be able to scrutinise the bill more fully.

Read more: HS2 faces seven-year delay as costs set to balloon to £78bn

There were dramatic scenes in Westminster last night after parliament was officially prorogued, or shut down, for five weeks until 14 October.

The move, announced by Boris Johnson last month, has sparked controversy due to the length of the prorogation and its timing ahead of the Brexit deadline of 31 October.