Question marks remain over HS2, but they are smaller after tonight

The proposed site of the HS2 east Midlands hub at Long Eaton Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

MPs have just voted in favour of the controversial High Speed 2 rail line.

After nearly 9 hours of debate, the High Speed Rail Bill was supported by 452 votes to 41.

The rebellion on the Conservative backbenches was smaller than some had predicted but there were many more abstentions. Several ministers who are known to oppose the scheme were "away" from Parliament on government business so were unable to vote.

It means Phase 1 of the line from London to Birmingham will continue on its Parliamentary journey - a journey it will not have completed by the time of the 2015 election.

An anti-HS2 sign along part of the proposed route in Staffordshire Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

So a question mark remains over the project - but it's a smaller one than before tonight.

And unless Labour decides to change it mind and ditch HS2 (Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is known to have his doubts) a government of whatever colour will continue to support the line after the General Election.

If Phase 2 is also approved, the line will eventually run from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds at a total cost, including trains, of £50 billion.