HS2 Update

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:23 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Gareth Snell Gareth Snell Labour/Co-operative, Stoke-on-Trent Central 10:23 pm, 17th July 2017

May I start by saying to the Minister—[Interruption.] I have not even got there yet. The Minister may feel the need to hand out party political trinkets to Jack Brereton, who is not in his place. In doing so, he does not cause a problem for me or my hon. Friend Ruth Smeeth, but he undermines the good work done by Sara Williams and the Staffordshire chamber of commerce, who have been lobbying on this matter for a number of years—long before any of us were elected to this place, and that belittles the Minister in this place this evening.

The Secretary of State has said that there “could be” support for having HS2 in Stoke-on-Trent. That is not a commitment that my constituents can base any real decisions on. Could he confirm that, as was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent North, the number of fast trains running from Stoke-on-Trent to London—London, and not another part of the region —will not be diminished by this announcement? Could he also confirm that capacity for freight transport on the west coast main line will not be diminished through making space for classic-compatible trains? As Jeremy Lefroy asked, could the Secretary of State make it clear that the pain that Staffordshire feels will have economic gains, because without that he will struggle to get our support in the vote?