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Liam Byrne: 'Drop construction yard HS2 plans'

A group of MPs from the West Midlands are calling on ministers to drop plans to use a piece of land in the middle of Birmingham as a construction yard for HS2.

Among them is Liam Byrne who wants the site at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill to be developed instead, which he believes could create up to 7,000 jobs.

Under current plans, once the high speed rail line has been constructed, the site would become a yard for trains.


Church leaders condemn HS2 for disturbing graves

Church leaders have condemned the planned route for HS2, warning that it will run through graveyards and disturb human remains.

The Archbishops' Council, which includes the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, says the route will destroy three burial grounds including one in Birmingham.

In a letter to the House of Commons they say not enough is being done to ensure exhumed remains are treated in a reverent manner. They say the Bill allowing HS2 to go ahead should not be passed into law.

Janet Gough, from the Archbishop's Council, has told ITV News that a specific clause is needed in the legislation behind HS2 to ensure Bishops can oversee exhumation and reburial.

The Department for Transport says burial grounds have been avoided as much as possible and all remains will be treated with dignity, respect and care.

List of Midlands Tory rebel MPs against HS2 plans

A majority of MP's have voted in favour of giving the HS2 bill a second reading, with 452 to 41 backing the principle of the HS2 project.

A total of 47 Conservative MPs missed the vote and 41 MPs either opposed the HS2 plans or backed an amendment put forward by former Cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan.

  • Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
  • Andrew Bridgen (Leicestershire North West)
  • Bill Cash (Stone)
  • Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)
  • Philip Hollobone (Kettering)
  • Chris Kelly (Dudley South)
  • Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)
  • Chris Pincher (Tamworth)
  • Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
  • Caroline Spelman (Meriden)
  • Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth & Horncastle)
  • Chris White (Warwick & Leamington)
  • Dan Byles (Warwickshire North)
  • Bill Wiggin (Herefordshire North)
  • Mark Pawsey (Rugby)
  1. National

HS2 'will start in 2017', Transport Secretary confirms

Tonight's vote in Parliament on the HS2 bill means the high-speed rail line will begin construction in 2017, the Transport Secretary has confirmed.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin at the proposed site of the HS2 East Midlands Hub in Long Eaton Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Patrick McLoughlin also tried to calm the fears of anti-HS2 campaigners over the impact of the proposed route on their areas, saying:

"I am aware of the concerns some who live very close to the HS2 route have. I am confident however that by working together we can ensure this vital new north-south railway is designed in the right way, and we will have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned."

  1. National

MPs vote to give HS2 bill a second reading

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship has been following the votes on the HS2 bill in the House of Commons.

MPs have now voted in favour of giving the legislation a second reading.


Anti-HS2 campaigners release alternative project pictures

The alternative picture of HS2 to those widely used Credit: HS2 Action Alliance

As a debate takes place in the House of Commons ahead of a vote on whether HS2 will go ahead in principle, the HS2 Action Alliance have released alternative pictures to campaign against the project.

They argue HS2 would damage the countryside, and cost too much money.

MPs to vote on HS2 legislation today

The controversial £50bn high speed rail line which will link Birmingham and the East Midlands with London and the north enters a key phase of its development today when MPs debate and vote on legislation.

The second reading of the HS2 Hybrid Bill allows the House of Commons to approve the project in principle.

Cheryl Gillan, the Tory MP for Chesham and Amersham, has pressed for an extra day's debate on Bill:

I'm sure you and the usual channels would not want to short-change MPs or our constituents outside, and I am asking for a second day's debate on April 29...

So many people's lives and homes and livelihoods are affected, so much environment is damaged and there is such a high risk with this project, this House deserves two days' debate on the second reading.

– Cheryl Gillan MP

Debate on controversial HS2 to begin April 28

HS2 trains could have this design Credit: HS@/PA Wire

Legislation for the HIgh Speed rail link will be debated by MPs for the first time on April 28.

Phase one of the line will allow a 49-minute link between London and the West Midlands from 2025.

The debate will see MPs discuss the principle of the link between London and the West Midlands and vote on the legislation as a whole.

A two day debate has been put forward by Cheryl Gillan, the Tory MP for Chesham and Amersham, rather than the typical one.

She said:

So many people's lives and homes and livelihoods are affected, so much environment is damaged and there is such a high risk with this project, this House deserves two days' debate on the second reading.

The date for the debate is provisional and could change.

Transport Secretary backs sooner build for HS2

The Transport Secretary and Derbyshire Dales MP, Patrick McLoughlin, has told the Commons he backs the recommendations to build the controversial High Speed rail link sooner and quicker.

It follows the recent report from the newly appointed HS2 Chairman Sir David Higgins calling for a new hub in Crewe to be built six years earlier than planned. The line will cut journey times from London to Birmingham to 49 minutes .

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