Tory MP: 60 colleagues want to vote against government on crucial HS2 bill

An artist's impression of HS2. Photo:

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen is planning to vote against the government on HS2 this afternoon tells me there are 60 of his colleagues who would like to do the same.

The legislation in the House of Commons is only paving legislation for the new High Speed train line between London and Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. It allows money to be spent on the multi-billion pound project before it has been given final approval.

This area of land next to the M1 in Sheffield would be built on for the HS2 project. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive

That - much more important - Bill is due in Spring 2014.

The dissent on the Conservative backbenches however will be much lower this afternoon.

The MP says the government whips have been busy ensuring his colleagues with concerns will not vote against the goverment today.

The HS2 rail project is set to clear a major obstacle today. Credit: HS2/PA Wire

The predicted rebellion therefore might only total 16 or 20 Tory MPs.

Bridgen called this week's new business case "the biggest work of fiction since Enid Blyton."

A study for Network Rail on Tuesday concluded the cost-benefit ratio had fallen to 1:2.3 (for every £1 spent building the line the country would reap benefit worth £2.30).

The warning of the strength of the opposition on its own side will alarm Downing Street which has already acknowledged the weakening support from the Labour leadership for HS2.

This article has been amended to include the name of the MP