I was proud to vote for HS2 with the majority of 452 against 41 just before 11.30pm last night.
An hour before I was the penultimate backbencher to speak, with the benefit of the Chamber beginning to fill before the ministerial wind-up speeches and votes, and made the case for a proper HS1/HS2 link.
The government needs to understand the benefits are at least as much about cross-London domestic travel e.g. from Ebbsfleet and Stratford to Old Oak Common, Heathrow, Birmingham and beyond as they are about a direct link between cities to the north and Europe – see Greengauge21 report here.
I believe I made progress making that case to ministers while making the positive case for HS2 overall. Not everyone seemed to know how conservative HS2 had been in calculating benefits or allowing a £14 billion contingency that is 95% likely to be underspent.
I also have no answer from opponents of HS2 who claim that only London will benefit and the north will be harmed by cutting the journey time from Manchester to London from just over two hours to just over one hour. If they truly believe that, why don’t they campaign to double the minimum journey time to over four hours, or have a man walk in front of the trains with a red flag, to really get the economy going?