High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill Select Committee: Second Special Report

This is a House of Commons Special Report.

Author: High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill Select Committee

Date Published: 26 October 2023

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Pausing of the work of the Committee

1. On Wednesday 4 October, during his speech at the Conservative Party Conference, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would be ‘cancelling’ the building of the HS2 project beyond Birmingham, and stated that it would be reinvesting in a range of transport projects in the North and Midlands (collectively to be known as ‘Network North’).

2. We are seeking clarity as to what exactly this will mean for the future of the High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill and for the work of this Committee. While we await further information from the Government or instruction from the House of Commons, we have decided to pause our programme of work: we will therefore not be holding any hearings with petitioners until the situation as it affects them is clarified.

3. We had decided upon this course of action before the receipt of a letter from the Minister of State for Transport which requested that we “not reconvene pending further instruction from the House”. The Minister’s letter is included as an appendix to this report.

4. We look forward to receiving such further information or instruction which, for the benefit of the House, petitioners, and other stakeholders affected by this decision, we hope will be forthcoming sooner rather than later. We will endeavour to keep petitioners informed.

Appendix: Letter from the Minister of State for Transport

23 October 2023

Dear Andrew,

Re: Request to adjourn High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill Select Committee

Further to my letter of 6 October, I am writing to you in your capacity as Chair of the High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill Select Committee.

Firstly, I would like to thank you again for the significant work that has already been undertaken by you and your committee. Much progress has been made and I commend you on this.

As you are aware, on 4 October the Prime Minister announced Network North - this Government’s transport investment vision to drive better connectivity, faster journey times, increased capacity and more frequent, reliable journeys across rail, buses and roads.

In line with our decision to cancel phases north of the West Midlands, we will no longer be progressing with HS2 between Birmingham and Manchester, and instead we will be redirecting funding to invest in hundreds of transport projects across the country – with every region set to receive the same or more transport investment on an unprecedented scale as a result of the change.

As noted in the Network North Command Paper laid in the House earlier this month, we are currently considering the best mechanism to deliver these commitments. As part of that work, we are reflecting on the existing package of legislation before Parliament.

I understand that the Committee adjourned following the Prime Minister’s announcement. I would be grateful if you could not reconvene pending further instruction from the House. This will enable that work to progress at pace.

Once again, I thank you and your colleagues for your work to date, and I will update you and the Committee in due course.

Yours ever,



Formal Minutes

Monday 23 October 2023

Members present:

Andrew Percy, in the Chair

Antony Higginbotham

Grahame Morris

Holly Mumby-Croft

Draft Report (High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill Select Committee: Second Special Report), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

Ordered, that the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 4 read and agreed to.

Appendix agreed to.

Resolved, that the Report be the Second Special Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chair make the Report to the House.


Adjourned until a day to be appointed by the Chair.

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

All publications from the Committee are available on the publications page of the Committee’s website.

Session 2022–23





First Special Report of Session 2022–23

HC 1136