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Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:25 pm on 5th February 2020.

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Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright Conservative, Kenilworth and Southam 5:25 pm, 5th February 2020

I do. We should use the pause that the Secretary of State has sensibly ordered to develop a cheaper, less environmentally damaging high-speed rail network—perhaps one that lays additional track along existing transport corridors. With the money that we can save, we can invest in more of the transport projects that are mentioned in this debate while still investing in high-speed rail. To my mind, that would be a better strategic balance in transport policy.

I recognise that going back to the drawing board on high-speed rail will cause a delay to its coming into operation, but as my hon. Friend rightly says there are alternatives that have already been partially developed. Let us recall that only last year we were told that phase 1 of HS2 would, in any event, be delayed by at least two years and that phase 2 would be delayed by at least three years. High-speed rail will change our transport future for generations to come. It is too important to get wrong, and we can do better than HS2.