Labour will back HS2 - Miliband

Labour Leader Ed Miliband talks to YEP reporter James Reed in Woodlesford.
Labour Leader Ed Miliband talks to YEP reporter James Reed in Woodlesford.
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ED Miliband has promised to deliver HS2 to Leeds if Labour wins the election.

The Labour leader ended speculation that the party might delay or cancel the planned high speed rail line connecting Leeds to London if he becomes Prime Minister.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls recently suggested east-west rail links should take priority having previously questioned whether HS2 was the “best way to spend £50bn” and warned there would be “no blank cheque” for the project.

But asked whether Leeds voters who back Labour can expect HS2 to be delivered on the current timetable if the party wins power, Mr Miliband told the YEP: “Yes.”

He continued: “We support HS2, absolutely, we support HS2. We are not backing off it, we are not changing our position on it. We are supporters of HS2 and that’s clear.

“What Ed Balls has said is that we need the east-west link as well and that’s right.”

Mr Miliband’s commitment on the issue means the election campaign has now produced unequivocal backing from both major parties on pushing ahead to connect Leeds to London and to Manchester and Liverpool with high speed rail.

Chancellor George Osborne said it was “essential you do both” during a visit to West Yorkshire last week.

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins is currently preparing a report, due to be delivered in the autumn, on the potential redevelopment of Leeds Station so the city is ready for high speed rail services.

Proposals already exist for a second station close to Bridgewater Place but concerns have been voiced about the difficulty this will cause passengers trying to connect from services using the existing station.