Transport secretary admits legislation for the £43bn HS2 rail line will not pass into law before the general election as intended
The legislation for the £43bn HS2 rail line will not pass into law before the general election as originally intended, the transport secretary has admitted.
In an interview with Spectator magazine this week, Patrick McLoughlin said the high-speed rail Bill, which was originally scheduled to pass into law in 2015 before the general election, will not now meet this deadline.
Supporters of the £43bn line to the north of England had hoped the legislation would become law prior to the election so the controversial project did not get caught up in party political politics in the election campaign.
Although the project enjoys cross-party support that has begun to fracture in recent months, with senior Labour figures voicing concerns about the project’s spiralling cost and shadow chancellor Ed Balls saying the party would review the scheme if elected to government.
Asked about the legislation timetable for the HS2 Bill, McLoughlin told Spectator: “I think one has to accept that perhaps through all its stages within the next 12 months is slightly ambitious.”
He said the Bill will have “started its parliamentary progress” by the time of the next general election in May 2015, but asked if it will have completed its passage into law he said: “No”.