High Speed 2 — [Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:55 am on 12th September 2018.

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Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Labour, Blackley and Broughton 9:55 am, 12th September 2018

The right hon. Lady makes a good point. I am a Manchester MP, I went to university in Sheffield and I always wanted the project to start in Manchester and Sheffield, but it would have been a unifying factor for the United Kingdom for the project to start in Scotland. There is no reason for it to start in only one or two places—it could have started in three; many projects of this scale do.

I could talk at length but many hon. Members want to speak. This is a project of national importance, like the third runway at Heathrow. I understand that Dame Cheryl Gillan has constituency issues. Many of us understand national priorities but we are elected by our constituents and have to represent them. I understand that balance. I do not think that the HS2 consultation has always been perfect and it—and the compensation—could have been improved. I pay tribute to the right. hon Lady for the considerable amount of increased investment in HS2 tunnelling that she has managed to get for her area. We have to keep this in perspective. We do not want investment in the north of England to stop, yet again, because of the methodology and because lobbying in London is so intensely powerful.