As expected, the government’s high-speed rail preparation bill cleared the Commons this evening, with 350 votes in favour and just 34 against. Only 18 of those were Conservative MPs, which deputy chief whip Greg Hands seems very keen indeed to highlight (see here and here), perhaps to suggest that he’s already working his magic in his new job. But we reported earlier that one of the whips’ strategies was to let any possible rebel have the day off to spend with their children over half term. How family-friendly.
What was of more interest was Labour’s position before, during and after the debate. Summing up, Mary Creagh argued that ‘it is we on this side of the House who are the true friends of HS2′.
She has a funny definition of friendship: this is a bit like a mate who regularly invites you out for a drink, then turns up so late that you’re starting to wonder if you’ve been stood up. But all the indications are that Labour will eventually support the project, after making protracted noises about fiscal responsibility and the important job of a credible opposition.Tags: Conservatives, High-speed rail, HS2, UK politics