I am happy to support the new clauses as they make a lot of sense in terms of accountability, evaluation and transparency, as well as ensuring constant review of a project as massive as HS2. It is also important to acknowledge the scandalous inequality of investment in the north of England that has been the case under successive Governments.
The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, deserves some credit for the concept of the northern powerhouse and the whole principle of devolving maximum power, but that has to be accompanied by resources. Since the change of Prime Minister and because it was the former Chancellor’s project, the Government have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to devolution and the northern powerhouse, and it is even less a central component of the Government’s agenda than it was in the past. So I will actually say that the Conservative Government did more in terms of devolution in principle in England than previous Labour Governments had done, but it was not accompanied by investment and, since the change of Prime Minister, that agenda has been sidelined.