Beast of Bolsover accuses HS2 of treating northerners like ‘second-class citizens’

Bolsover MP, Dennis Skinner.

Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner has accused HS2 of treating people in the north like ‘second-class citizens’.

The veteran Labour politician made the allegation in Westminster yesterday (November 1), in front of a packed House of Commons.

Newton HS2 protesters

He claimed to have seen evidence that the controversial multi-billion pound rail project were tunnelling under houses in the south, but knocking them down in the north, and demanded the Prime Minister do something about it.

In a fiery exchange at the beginning of Prime Minister’s Question on Wednesday, Mr Skinner said: “In the leafy suburbs of the south - the first 140 miles - 30 per cent of [HS2] has been dedicated to tunnelling to avoid knocking houses down.

“Yet in the north we are now told that the percentage is only two per cent.

“Why, because HS2 says it is too costly - knock the houses down.

An aritist's impression of how HS2 could look.

“Will she arrange for a meeting with people from my area in order to avoid another 30 houses being knocked down in Newton, part of Bolsover.

“And isn’t it high time that this Government stopped treating our people like second class citizens.”

Responding to jeers from the Labour benches, Prime Minister Theresa May said the Department of Transport would be ‘happy’ to look into matter for him.

She added, however, that it was ‘important to increase the capacity of the railway lines going through to the north’ and that HS2 will make ‘a very important contribution to the United Kingdom economy’.

A spokesperson for HS2 said: “We are at the very early stages of design for the route between Birmingham and Leeds, and are committed to working with communities and stakeholders to identify appropriate solutions to further reduce impacts.”

The ‘Phase 2b’ route of the £55bn project was announced in June, with construction expected to be complete by 2033.

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