A Tory MP planning to vote against the government on HS2 today tells me there are 60 of his colleagues who would like to do the same.
Patrick McLoughlin will continue the Government's fightback over the high-speed rail project by unveiling - yet another - business case.
A previously unreleased research has shown that the High Speed 2 rail project is predicted to have a negative economic impact on some towns.
The High Speed 2 rail project looks set to clear a major obstacle in the House of Commons today despite an expected rebellion from Tory MPs.
Crucial legislation, which will allow the Government to spend money on planning the route and buying up property along the proposed track, is expected to be approved.
However, Labour have recently cooled on the £50 billion scheme with shadow chancellor Ed Balls saying he is not prepared to write a blank cheque for the project.
This led to fears that the scheme- which will create a high speed railway linking London to the north of England - could collapse without the support of Labour because a number of Tory MPs are angry the line is being built through their constituencies in the Home Counties.
Labour have said they will support the project but the party's leadership has imposed a one-line whip on tonight's vote, which will give their MPs opposed to the plans room to vote against the Government.
The Government has robustly defended the case for a High Speed rail line despite the publication of a new report suggesting the estimated economic benefits had reduced.
The expected benefit-cost ratio of the HS2 was revised down in the report by the scheme's promoters.
However, the Transport Secretary said the controversial scheme would become the new "backbone of Britain".
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has urged the Government to "get a grip" on the costs of the HS2 rail scheme to ensure the project was value for money.
Mr Balls stressed that Labour had supported HS2 "in the past", but said it was vital that costs "stacked up".
An official report released today revealed that the estimated economic benefits of the £50 billion project are dwindling.
Mr Balls said: "We have supported HS2 and there is a case for new investment in a new North-South rail link. But when you have got a project of this scale - £50 billion potentially - you have got to know that it is really value for money.
"In the last couple of years the Government has been all over the place and the costs have got out of control. So my message to David Cameron and George Osborne is 'Get a grip - you shouldn't be cheerleaders, you should be taking a hard-headed look at costs and benefits'."
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has backed the controversial HS2 scheme, insisting it will become the new "backbone of Britain".
Opponents of the scheme, who believe the project is a waste of money and should be scrapped, seized on an official report published today which revealed that the estimated economic benefits of the £50 billion project are falling.
However, Mr McLoughlin argued the line was not "some expensive add-on" but a scheme which would help people with their daily lives.
Speaking at the National Rail Conference in Manchester, the MP said:
"As the impact of this week’s storm in the south shows, when trains are crowded and disrupted, life for hardworking people gets more difficult. That’s why the new north-south line isn’t some expensive add on. It’s about helping people with their daily lives.
"It’s needed to help commuters who now have to stand - and will soon have to queue - to get on their trains. It’s needed to help the cities of the north which want to compete on equal terms with London. It will be the new backbone of Britain."
Robert Oxley, campaign manager for the Taxpayers' Alliance, believes the Government is "cherry-picking" its figures for HS2 and is creating a "fake boogeyman" by claiming that the alternative - upgrading the current network - would mean years of disruption.
The expected benefit-cost ratio of the HS2 has been revised down in the Government's latest report, falling from £2.50 benefit for every pound spent to £2.30.
It attributed the revision to a £10 billion increase in the scheme's projected £42.6 billion cost, which was made earlier this year.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the current weekend disruption on rail networks shows why upgrading the current rail system is not a viable alternative to the HS2.
He told ITV Daybreak the delays and disruption that occurred during the £9 billion upgrade to the West Coast Main Line proves why a new system is preferable to trying to increase capacity on the current network.
Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh reiterated Labour's position that there can be "no blank cheque" for the HS2 rail project.
Ms Creagh said:
We must address the capacity problems that mean thousands of commuters face cramped, miserable journeys into cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London.
But there can be no blank cheque and ministers must get a grip on costs.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is expected to say that although he respects the "lively debate" on the HS2 rail project, it must be a national project with broad support across the political parties "or in the end it will be nothing."
In a speech at a rail conference in Manchester, Mr McLoughlin will tell delegates: "Let me say something very direct to those in the opposition who have learnt nothing from the past.
"You can't say one day you back better infrastructure only the next threaten to stop it being built.
"You can't go on claiming to want one nation if you won't back the things that will bring it together."