High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill

Part of Speaker’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 7:23 pm on 28th April 2014.

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Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Labour, Vauxhall 7:23 pm, 28th April 2014

First, I, too, welcome the way in which the Secretary of State has handled the issue by not accusing anybody who is not in favour of the Bill or who has signed the reasoned amendment of being a nimby. When an issue is contentious, it is crucial that there is respect on all sides. I wish we had a second day for this debate, because five-minute limits mean no real debate and this issue should be debated.

My constituency is not directly affected in the way that that of my right hon. Friend Frank Dobson is affected, but when the Eurostar terminal was built at Waterloo we put up with years of terrible disruption, only to find that once it was built and was being used there was a switch and it went off to St Pancras. We had all the terrible problems, but ended up with no direct link to Paris.

When I talk to my constituents about HS2, they overwhelmingly ask whether it is the right way to spend £50 billion. Many of my constituents, who will never have a decent home to live in, who will never get out of overcrowding and who live in very difficult circumstances, are asking whether the money would not be better spent on providing decent homes for everyone in this country. These people live just a mile away from the House of Commons, yet they cannot have money spent on improving the railways within Lambeth. There is no longer a direct train at peak time from Clapham High Street to Victoria, because the platforms at Wandsworth Road need to be extended. Just small amounts of money would make such a difference to commuters around London.