High-speed Rail

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 8th December 2009.

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Photo of Greg Mulholland Greg Mulholland Shadow Minister (Health) 11:00 am, 8th December 2009

As the Minister knows, I probably should not get started on discussions about rolling stock in Yorkshire. The hon. Gentleman has a real interest in railways and the rail network, which is not surprising given the area that he represents. Of course he is right, and that matter is absolutely fundamental. Again, this is not an either/or matter. We need real improvements. Clearly my time is limited today. My purpose has been to take on the high-speed rail debate and make it a more realistic one that will deliver real benefits, including to the hon. Gentleman's constituency and city.

I would be very pleased to work with hon. Members from across the House, in particular with Mr. Betts, who is here, and Philip Davies, who is not, to show that there is real cross-party consensus in taking forward the matter. We have an interest in wanting high-speed rail links to Yorkshire and the Humber, and we will continue to campaign for that. All of us who are passionate about high-speed rail should now change the focus of our debate.

I ask one question of the Minister. Will he and, hopefully, Lord Adonis meet those involved in the High Speed North proposal, including the engineer Colin Elliff, who has done a wonderful job in bringing forward the matter, to get the proposal firmly on the agenda? We all want to see one thing, which is a genuine high-speed rail network that serves as much of the country as possible. A single line, running from north to south, delivering as much as possible, should be the very first step forward.

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