Patrick McLoughlin has said HS2 is the solution for the "clogged arteries of our transport system."
In a speech today the Transport Secretary said: "The reason we need HS2 isn't for its speed, though speed is an obvious benefit."
"HS2 will allow you to get from Birmingham to Leeds in 57 minutes.
"The main reason we need HS2 is the heart bypass for the clogged arteries of our transport system.
"It will lift the burden from our overcrowded system."
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It will remain largely dry with clear spells and light winds tonight. Tomorrow, largely dry with the odd shower.
Rain in the far east dying out this evening. Thursday should see some good sunny spells and light winds, with the odd shower.
Leicester-based energy firm Mark Group Ltd has gone into administration with the loss of 939 jobs.