British Labour party backs plan for high-speed rail link between London and north of England

Proposed 335-mile track would connect London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds

British prime minister David Cameron has struggled to win support from his Conservatives for the proposed £50 billion (€61 billion) high-speed rail line linking London and northern England. Photograph: EPA/Andy Rain

British prime minister David Cameron has struggled to win support from his Conservatives for the proposed £50 billion (€61 billion) high-speed rail line linking London and northern England. Photograph: EPA/Andy Rain

Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 01:00

A proposed high-speed rail line linking London and northern England is poised to clear a key parliamentary test after the opposition Labour Party pledged to back the project.

British prime minister David Cameron has struggled to win support from his Conservatives for the £50 billion (€61 billion) railway. Some 13 per cent of Tory MPs plan to oppose the legislation at its second reading in the Commons this week, according to one Tory rebel.

Trains reaching speeds of 225mph would run along the proposed 335-mile track connecting London to Birmingham, as well as Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds.

Labour’s commitment had been questioned after Ed Balls, who speaks for the party on economic affairs, said in September there would be no “blank cheque” for the project if Labour wins the 2015 general election. “With the cost going up we had a look again at it,” Labour’s transport spokeswoman Mary Creagh told Sky News yesterday. “We’ve had that look at it and we’re backing the project.” – (Bloomberg)

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