My head is in a spin about this HS2 thing. I am more convinced by business case 5 which concentrates on the overall need for more capacity than shaving a few minutes off the journey from Brum to the Smoke. I know in my guts however that costs will spiral out of control and I am not sure that the environmental issues linked to the route are fully resolved – this article suggests HM official opposition are equally undivided. I hope it is for logical rather than political reasons. This story tells us:

Labour tensions over the future of Britain’s first high-speed rail line north of London will burst into the open on Thursday when an ally of Ed Miliband warns of “divisive” briefings within the party.

After David Cameron said that Miliband was “too weak” to make a decision on HS2, former cabinet minister John Denham urges his party to act in the national interest and support the project.

In an article for Progress magazine Denham writes: “Labour’s policy – confusingly revealed not by a clear policy process but by a briefing here, an interview there, an aside in a speech over there – [has become] less certain. There has even been divisive briefing about who in Labour is in charge of the policy.”

The former local government secretary, who served as parliamentary aide to Miliband until earlier this year, intervened on the eve of the final commons stages of the high speed rail (preparation) bill which will allow the initial preparations for HS2 to go ahead.

Labour supports the bill although its MPs will only be subject to a one-line whip on Thursday, which means they do not have to be at Westminster for the votes. The government has warned Labour that it would be prepared to abandon HS2 if the party does not offer whole-hearted support when MPs vote on the hybrid bill, which would allow construction on the London to Birmingham line to begin in 2017, in March.



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