Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins joined Labour colleagues yesterday (Wednesday 8th December) to force a vote in the House of Commons demanding Boris Johnson reverses the North’s rail betrayal.
During the debate, Labour MPs urged Conservative MPs to stand up for Northern & Midland’s communities, back the opposition motion, and send a strong message that the Prime Minister’s decision must be reversed.
Northern Powerhouse Rail was committed to more than 60 times by successive Tory Governments, and was in three consecutive Conservative Party manifestos but last month was downgraded and the eastern leg of HS2 scrapped.
The scrapping of the HS2 Eastern Leg between Nottingham and Leeds will have a devastating effect on connectivity and connection times:
- People living in Chesterfield, Sheffield and Leeds will no longer be connected by HS2
- With HS2, the journey time between Leeds and Birmingham was set to halve from 1hr58 to 49m and it was set to cut the journey time between Newcastle and London by 45mins. These quicker journey times will now be curtailed with the Eastern leg not being built in full.
It will leave millions of people paying the price for broken Tory promises.
The new route would have meant faster journey times, reduced overcrowding and improved connectivity through the creation of an East Midlands Hub which would have become a gateway to the surrounding areas.
As well as helping to reduce carbon emissions, the eastern leg of HS2 was estimated to create 74,000 new jobs and add an extra £4bn a year to the regional economy.
The Staveley depot would have created hundreds of local jobs, but an even bigger impact will be from the potential economic growth and job creation that HS2 would have brought in the long-term but has now been lost.
During the debate, Toby stated “For 11 years HS2 has been Tory party policy, but throughout that period they have managed the policy so ineptly that the costs have continually escalated, and public confidence has not been there. Now they are asking how we can support policies that they spent four general elections and 11 years telling us were the right policies. They stand there and say that this is a major investment, but every major investment in rail that they have announced in the 11 years for which I have been here has never been delivered”.
He added “They have stood there and announced midland main line electrification, and they have never delivered it. They have stood there and announced HS2, and they have never delivered it. So why on earth should anyone believe that the plan that is on that desk, which will take many years and future Parliaments to be delivered, will ever happen?
The people of Chesterfield have been lied to, and people across the midlands and the north have been lied to, in order to get this shabby Government elected”.