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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.

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Boris blasts Anti-HS2 campaigners

Campaigners who object to plans for a new high speed rail link on environmental grounds are talking "b*******" and only really care about their house prices, according to Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

ile photo dated 13/12/13 of Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Johnson claims that protesters "pretend" they are campaigning about woodland or wildlife but they are much more "furious" about the impact HS2 proposals are having on property values.

He suggested the Government should buy up the houses of the scheme's opponents for "top dollar", then when the rail link is finished, capitalise on any boost to local economies by selling them off for a profit.

Mr Johnson told Total Politics magazine: "People are in the humiliating position of having to pretend that there's some environmental objection that they have, that the great crested grebe is going to be invaded or whatever."

"What they care about is their house prices. It's tragic we have protest groups talking about 'this ancient woodland' when actually there's no tree in this country that's more than 200 years old.

"It's b*******. They're not campaigning for forests, they're not campaigning for butterflies. They pretend to be obviously, but what they're really furious about is that their house prices are getting it."

Warning over HS2 wildlife damage

Around 500 wildlife areas could be at risk from the HS2 high speed rail line, conservationists have warned.

The Wildlife Trusts called for a £130m investment to create new green areas over the length of the new line.

An anti-HS2 poster in a the Staffordshire village of Whittington. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Among the areas affected by the new line are 43 ancient woods and nine Wilflife Trust nature reserves.

MP sacked as Tory vice-chair over Maria Miller comment

Tory MP Michael Fabricant has been sacked as vice-chair of the party after criticising the HS2 rail scheme and Maria Miller over her expenses.

The former Conservative whip claimed on Twitter that he refused to resign so was sacked by party chairman Grant Shapps.

After news of Mrs Miller's resignation broke, the MP said: "Well, about time."

Mr Fabricant, MP for Lichfield in Staffordshire, tweeted this announcement:

After Mrs Miller resigned over her expenses scandal, he tweeted:

He is set to lead a Tory revolt against the £50 billion HS2 scheme later this month by calling for laws so the London-Birmingham is denied a second reading in Parliament.

The MP has spoken of his shock at being sacked and wrote on Twitter:

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No increases in spending on HS2, Osborne warns

George Osborne says he will not sanction any increases to the £50bn HS2 budget. Credit: Christopher Furlong/PA Archive

Chancellor George Osborne has welcomed Sir David Higgins' recommendations for HS2, but warned there will be "no increases" in spending on the £50 billion poject.

Mr Osborne described the high-speed project as "essential to the future of this country".

However, he cautioned: "We must be conscious of the price, and there will be no increases to the overall spending envelope set for HS2 at the last spending review."

Earlier today, Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh said there would be no "blank cheque" for the project.

Ms Creagh told BBC Radio 4's The World At One that Labour would be supporting the hybrid bill due to come before parliament but argued that the project had "suffered from mismanagement".

Government hopes HS2 bill will 'proceed quickly'

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

Plans to speed up the development of HS2 and extend it to the north more quickly have been backed by the government.

Asked whether the coalition would take action to accelerate the passage of the HS2 Bill through Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said: "We want it to proceed as quickly as it can, but it is obviously a very lengthy Bill."

Earlier today, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said Sir David Higgins' proposals for HS2 had the "strong support" of the government.

The government has also scrapped a proposed £700m scheme to link HS2 with the existing HS1 route to Brussels.

The government will instead look at other ways of linking HS2 with the continent.

HS2 savings cannot be guaranteed, boss warns

HS2 contingency savings cannot be guaranteed, the project's chairman has told ITV News' Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship:

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