Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins urges government to reverse rail cuts after HS2 controversy

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, joined his Labour colleagues in a vote which urged the Government to reverse their decision to cut back rail improvements in the North and Midlands.

By Tom Hardwick
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 2:28 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 2:29 pm

During an opposition day debate yesterday, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and SNP MPs voted for a motion tabled by Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Secretary for Transport. It called on the house to recognise the importance of rail investment to the UK economy, particularly the delivery of new lines linking Yorkshire, the North West, North East and Midlands.

The motion stated their regret regarding the Government’s decision not to deliver new high speed investment, rail electrification and Northern Powerhouse Rail in full. It also asked them to fully enact their new northern rail investment plan.

During the debate, Toby Perkins criticised the Conservative’s handling of HS2. He said: “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.”

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Toby Perkins MP has called on the Government to reverse their decision to scale back rail improvements in the Midlands and North.

Northern Powerhouse Rail was included in three consecutive Conservative Party manifestos, but last month was downgraded, with the eastern leg of HS2 being scrapped.

HS2 will no longer reach Chesterfield, Sheffield and Derby. It will now run from Birmingham to an East Midlands hub, from which HS2 trains will run to these places on existing, upgraded tracks.

The benefits of the intended HS2 depot at Staveley, which promised to create hundreds of local jobs and improve economic growth, have also been lost.

Mr Perkins said that during his time in Parliament, the Conservatives have failed to deliver on their rail promises, and that he did not believe their latest plans would come to fruition.

“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.”