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Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Lefroy Jeremy Lefroy Conservative, Stafford 5:45 pm, 15th July 2019

I am generally very supportive of additional high-speed capacity between London, the north-east, the north-west and Scotland, but I have consistently opposed HS2 and the plans for it because this is not the right way to go about it. It is not a question of whether or not my constituency is affected; I would be happy to see a sensible route through my constituency. I and my hon. Friend Sir William Cash were quite happy to see the very large Norton Bridge junction project in our constituencies, because although it caused quite a lot of disruption, we could see the benefit for the west coast main line—for improving capacity and for increasing speeds to the benefit of everybody. He and I and other colleagues do not see such benefits from HS2 as a whole. However, I personally would like to see a different design and lower maximum speeds—not the 400 km per hour that is projected but something more sensible between 250 km and 300 km per hour. That would allow for a route that is not straight as an arrow, but that has some bends in it that could avoid the villages in my constituency. That kind of route, which would also be more consistent with the kind of trains that we currently have running on the west coast main line, would be infinitely preferable to what we have at the moment. Contrary to my right hon. Friend John Redwood whom I greatly respect on this matter, I do not think that it is too late to think again about some changes that would make this or a similar project more acceptable to my constituents.

I will support new clauses 1 and 2, certainly, and new clause 5. My hon. Friend Antoinette Sandbach has already eloquently set out the reasons why we should support new clause 5, and I will certainly do so.