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High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:48 pm on 26th June 2013.

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Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department for Transport 6:48 pm, 26th June 2013

This has been an extremely good and well-informed debate. A significant number of my hon. Friends and other hon. Members have spoken in support of High Speed 2 and this paving Bill, and a number, including a number of my right hon. and hon. Friends, have expressed their concerns and lack of support.

I want to begin in a slightly unusual way by congratulating the shadow Secretary of State, Maria Eagle, and the shadow Minister, Lilian Greenwood, on taking the view in the national interest that they will support the Bill tonight, as they supported it when they were in government. For that consistency, I congratulate and thank them.

We heard a number of excellent speeches. I thought the speech by my hon. Friend Damian Collins was particularly relevant and interesting, because his constituency has the experience of High Speed 1. I also enjoyed the robust contribution made by my hon. Friend Mr Binley, who is clearly a keen and enthusiastic supporter of the project.

I say to my right hon. Friend Mrs Gillan, my hon. Friend Andrew Bridgen and others who oppose the Bill and who have the preferred or proposed route going through their constituency that I understand what they are going through. I have considerable sympathy for them as constituency MPs and I admire they way in which they are rightly fighting for the interests of their constituents, but ultimately I believe that the national interest must come first, although we must do all we can to alleviate any problems that have been highlighted.