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High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:25 pm on 26th June 2013.

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Photo of Kwasi Kwarteng Kwasi Kwarteng Conservative, Spelthorne 5:25 pm, 26th June 2013

I am pleased that we have Members with such fertile imaginations in this House that the hon. Gentleman has his own scheme. I have not looked at it, though, so I could not possibly comment.

What is clear to me, as a Member for a south-east constituency that is very built-up and highly residential, is that disputes about infrastructure spending are inevitable. I suggested that when the Tower of London was built, people objected to it on quite worthy grounds. There have been objections to every piece of infrastructure spending in this country for hundreds of years, but that does not mean that we have not gone ahead and built the railways or the ports. We are a commercial nation with incredible skills in engineering. We have, or we used to have, great architecture and engineering—I am not casting aspersions on current architecture, just suggesting that it was very good in the past—so there is no reason to suggest, as some have, that HS2 will be a blight on the countryside. It will change of course, but as has been pointed out, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and other Victorians completely transformed the landscape of this country, but they did not make it worse in any way.