Government denies HS2 'confusion'

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The government has rejected Labour claims of "confusion" over when legislation to support the High Speed 2 rail line will be introduced.

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle asked: "With all the dither and delay, botched consultations and judicial reviews, is the hybrid bill still on track?"

She added that "the secretary of state has introduced some confusion" on this issue.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin replied: "This government will have achieved far more in five years to build high-speed rail in this country than the previous government did in 13. All I would say is that we are still on target to meet our aims by the end of this year."

Earlier in transport questions on 28 February 2013, MPs expressed mixed feelings about HS2.

Kris Hopkins, Conservative MP for Keighley, described businesses in west Yorkshire as "ready, willing and very able to assist" with aiding the process of constructing HS2.

But his party colleague Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, warned the project "will do significant damage to our Buckinghamshire constituencies and the Chilterns designated area of outstanding natural beauty".

The new line would involve "significant downgrading of provision and a collapse of existing services to Stoke-on-Trent", according to Labour's Tristram Hunt.

The transport secretary advised him to "be a bit more enthusiastic about such things" and told the House: "We will do all we can to minimise damage in the Buckinghamshire area."

In January, the government announced its preferred route for phase two of the High Speed 2 line north of Birmingham. A final decision will be taken after a consultation to be launched later this year.

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