Grant Shapps promises HS2 decision as Tory MPs threaten rebellion

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today promised a Cabinet decision on HS2 “very soon”.

Expectations of a go-ahead soared after Chancellor Sajid Javid threw his weight behind the giant infrastructure project that could slash journey times from London to Birmingham to under 45 minutes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Javid and Mr Shapps were meeting this afternoon to discuss the project ahead of a full Cabinet discussion, probably next week.

However, Tory MPs threatened a rebellion after the news that Cabinet approval looks imminent. Greg Smith, newly elected Conservative MP for Buckingham, said he will vote against the scheme.

An announcement on HS2 is expected next month (AFP via Getty Images)

“I was very clear in the general election campaign that I am opposed to HS2,” he told the BBC’s Today. “It is absolutely wrong for my constituency and I believe it to be wrong for the country as well.”

Mr Smith claimed “many other MPs”, including newly elected Tories in northern constituencies, shared his opposition.

“We are not against infrastructure. We are just saying that HS2 is the wrong project, it goes along the wrong route at a cost that, frankly, the nation can’t afford,” he said.

But in the Commons, Eddie Hughes, Tory MP for Walsall North, backed the plan saying: “One of the ways to address regional disparity in transport investment might be to continue with HS2.”

Mr Shapps replied that “we will have an announcement on this next month”.

Sources close to Mr Javid said he will “broadly back” the high-speed line despite estimated costs rising from £56 billion in 2015 to £106 billion.


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