Support for HS2 'will cost Tory votes', say protesters

Anti-HS2 protesters wait to make their point to Chancellor George Osborne

Anti-HS2 protesters wait to make their point to Chancellor George Osborne

First published in News

POLITICAL support for HS2 could lose Conservative party candidates votes at the next General Election – while Labour opposition to the current HS2 plans could gain the support of around a fifth of Britons.

A new ComRes poll for HS2 opposition group HS2AA shows around three in 10 Britons (28 per cent) say they would be less likely to support the Conservative Party at the next election because of their support for HS2 – while around one fifth of Britons (19 per cent) say they are more likely to support Labour if the party opposed the current plans for HS2.

ComRes interviewed 2,053 adults across Great Britain and the results made it clear that opposition to HS2 is steadfast, with 52 per cent of Britons – a figure reflected in other independent polls – opposing the current plans to build HS2 while around 30 per cent support them.

Richard Houghton, of HS2 Action Alliance, said: "HS2 is not a vote winner for the Conservative Party.”

He added that 28 per cent of Britons are less likely to vote for the party because of their plans to build HS2, and, by contrast, just six per cent of Britons are more likely to support the party because of their plans to build HS2. Among older Britons, a third (33 per cent) of those aged 55 or over say they are less likely to support the Conservatives because of HS2.

Mr Houghton said: "The regional breakdowns are even more telling. HS2 is being sold as a vote winner in the West Midlands and North West – at the price of local opposition in mainly Tory safe seats along the route of HS2.

“But the ComRes poll results indicate HS2 is strongly opposed by 24 per cent in the North West, 22 per cent in Yorkshire and Humberside as well as 27 per cent in the East Midlands, with strong support for the proposals at just six per cent in the North East, 10 per cent in Yorkshire and five per cent in the West Midlands," said Richard Houghton.

"There is very little voter support for HS2 in the regions where HS2 is supposed to encourage support.

“Just two per cent of Britons in the North West and two per cent of voters in the West Midlands say they are a lot more likely to support the Conservative party because of HS2.

"It now appears that the Conservative Party is paying a political price for its continued enthusiasm for the project. That price looks particularly high in those regions where it must do well if it wishes to form the next Government.

“The politics of HS2 now resemble the rest of the project – highly risky with little return.

“At over £1,500 per UK adult, HS2 represents a gross waste of taxpayer’s money. This poll shows that HS2 is now a political problem for the Conservative Party. It’s time to stop this folly.”

  • The current plans for HS2 will affect Trafford with a link into Manchester city centre that will see a new station built at Manchester Airport while the Wigan spur will cut through the countryside around Warburton.

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