It’s a bad sign when a party has to insist that its position on a big policy is clear, but that’s what Labour has done this morning, with a statement from Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh marking the start of the HS2 preparation bill report stage and third reading:
‘Labour supports HS2 because we must address the capacity problems that mean thousands of commuters face cramped, miserable journeys into Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London. However, Government mismanagement has pushed up costs. Our message to David Cameron is clear. Get a grip on this project, get control of the budget and get it back on track.’
Perhaps Labour’s message to Cameron is clear, but this still isn’t a confirmation by any means that Labour won’t pull its support in the future if the conditions that Ed Balls set in his conference speech are met. Perhaps it is encouraging that Creagh is still saying ‘Labour supports HS2′ and hasn’t used her ‘blank cheque’ line. But as far as ‘clear’ messages go, this seems to be a clear attempt at keeping the spotlight on Labour’s HS2 threats, rather than a clarification of what it is that Labour is actually going to do.
Nigel Farage, Matthew Parris, Rory Sutherland and Cheryl Gillan will debate whether the government should ‘Stop HS2!‘ tonight in Westminster. Click here to book tickets.Tags: High-speed rail, HS2, Labour, Mary Creagh, UK politics