A change in the air on high-speed rail?

A Stop HS2 sign at the road side in Drayton Bassett, Staffordshire It was Labour which originally launched the high-speed rail project

Listen hard and you'll hear the screeching of wheels.

You can't do a U-turn on rails so, perhaps, it's the sound of a fast-moving train being slammed into reverse.

Labour insists that it has not abandoned its support for HS2 but it is now raising questions not just about the costs of building a new high speed rail line but the benefits too.

The official party line is that the party is just asking and being seen to ask the proper questions about a project whose budget has ballooned and the case for which has been re-written.

Supporters of HS2 predict that Ed Miliband will not abandon a scheme launched under the last Labour government.

However, it is clear that Ed Balls can sense the wind turning on this issue.

He is aware of growing public doubts. One of those close to him told me that HS2 is now raised spontaneously by focus groups as an example of money being wasted.

Most devastating of all, some even compare it with the Millennium Dome.

There are so many Tory MPs opposed to HS2 that the plans may need Labour's support. After today, that cannot be guaranteed.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Labour may now understand that they can control government policy, simply by hinting they might reverse decisions taken by the current government. If the UK was free of EU control, these hints would be even more powerful as there would be less chance of an EU court challenge. If the vested interests think they may lose money rather than making a killing the HS2 project is dead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    There is only one reason why Labour do not want HS2 and it isn't cost. They are very concerned, if not terrified that the proposed link across the North/South divide would actually happen and their stranglehold on the North would be severed and they are afraid, very afraid.

    They are the worst and most spiteful opposition ever, their only plan is turning out country back to socialism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    "In 1987, Folkestone Central to Charing Cross fastest time was 1h 13mins.
    Folkestone Central to Charing Cross fastest time is now 1h 41mins."

    Exactly, which is a real bummer for those of us travelling to Whitehall etc. Choice is: cheaper ticket, longer mainline service, walk OR (much more) expensive ticket, plus tube and not save much in time. HS1 should have competed with existing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    Hyperbolic that JB - you sound like one of those 1970's throwback tories who think someone requesting a lunch break heralds a return to the Red Robbo era.
    I thought price fixing was what the cartels did? Long suffering UK customers have been abused and need a break.SME's need help more than Vodafone.Investing for the long term in uk staff is a good thing weans us off reliance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.


    "there has to be debt mutualisation if the Euro is to survive"


    The EZ knows this and more: they're moving towards a federal solution of which that would be just a part.

    There's no shock value in those words whatsoever.


Comments 5 of 131


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