Thank you, Mary. It is ironic that part of HS2 will go along the pathway that Edward Watkin built 120 years ago. It is a further irony that it will pass within metres of his graveyard in my constituency of Wythenshawe and Sale East. That will be a fitting tribute.
As a new Member, I will talk for a second about what I believe the purpose of good public policy to be. It must always be to promote the common good. It must be to create the conditions that allow people, groups and communities to thrive, fulfil their potential and live life more fully. I believe 100% that High Speed 2 will do that.
I served as a young councillor in Manchester under the leadership of my hon. Friend Graham Stringer. I remember the projects that he started and delivered, and that I supported. He bid for the Olympic games, which was unheard of. He won the Commonwealth games. We built the second runway. We introduced light rail. We brought about regeneration after the IRA bomb just after the change of leadership. I am immensely proud of that. As my right hon. Friend Mr Straw said, we pulled that city up by its bootstraps in that decade. I was proud to serve on that council under the leadership of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackley and Broughton and, subsequently, that of Sir Richard Leese.
With the HS2 line, Manchester and the northern economy can fulfil their potential. We can unleash good public policy for the common good, which will help individuals, groups and societies in northern England to prosper. The line will vastly reduce the time that it takes to travel between Manchester and London from two hours and eight minutes to one hour and eight minutes. As I said in my intervention, the time from Manchester airport to London will go from two hours and 24 minutes to 59 minutes. Manchester airport is the most important air gateway in this country outside the capital. We must imagine the benefits of the economic regeneration that that will bring. In fact, we do not have to imagine the benefits because we know what they will be. An HS2 station at Manchester airport will bring about £500 million of investment per annum and more than 9,000 extra jobs.
We have talked about how to rebalance this nation economically. There was a fascinating programme called “Mind the Gap” by Evan Davis, which was all about clustering. When Daniel Adamson built the Manchester ship canal in 1822, he wanted there to be a northern region that stretched from Liverpool to Hull. If I serve in this Parliament for a long period, that is what I want to see achieved. HS2 is the first stage in creating that northern hub—that second city.