HomeGovernanceWeek in Parliament: Wales and Doncaster in the spotlight

Week in Parliament: Wales and Doncaster in the spotlight

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Welsh Secretary brushes aside notion HS2 is an “England-only” project

Simon Hart, MP

Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart (Cons) was quizzed by Cardiff Central Labour MP, Jo Stevens, on the notion that HS2 could be re-classified as an England-only project, as Wales does not stand to gain from the new lines. Hart said Wales did benefit from HS2: “I would just point out that there has been more than £430 million of rail funding so far, including £125 million for the core valley lines and £58 million for Cardiff Central station; I could go through the list, but I think Mr Speaker would stop me.

“This constant refrain, and going over old ground, about whether HS2 has any benefits for Wales is an overused cliché; we all know there are significant direct and indirect benefits to Wales from the HS2 project, and that will continue to be the case.”

Prior to this, Hart dismissed a call from Geraint Davies (Labour, Swansea West) that they get a share of funding on a basis similar to Scotland regarding HS2 – funding Davies surmised as being in the region of £4.6billion.

“I am always keen to look at new, innovative ways that will encourage investment and create jobs. I am very happy to do that,” Hart said.

Doncaster MP puts region’s name in the hat for GBR HQ

Nick Fletcher (Cons, Don Valley) asked if his area would be a forerunner in the race for the headquarters of Great British Railways. He said: “I am sure the Leader of the House knows that Doncaster has fantastic rail links and has a rich rail heritage. I am sure he also knows that it is the birthplace of both the Flying Scotsman and the Mallard.

Nick Fletcher, MP

“Therefore, does my right hon. Friend agree with me that Doncaster is by far the best place for the headquarters of Great British Railways?”

In reply, Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “My hon. Friend asks me to do something for which I do not have the authority, but I can say that Doncaster is a wonderful place and has a superb Member of Parliament, who ensures that it is very well and effectively represented in this House.

As I understand it, the Great British Railways transition team will be running a competition to identify the national headquarters, which will be based outside London, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to levelling up.

“I am not immediately aware of any competition coming from [my constituency of] North East Somerset, so may I wish Doncaster extremely well?”

Rees-Mogg also told fellow Conservative Miriam Cates to “keep on persevering” for ‘levelling-up’ funding for an upgrade of the Penistone line.

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