The enabling bill to build the first phase will now go to committee stage after MPs threw out a proposal for the plan to be halted from Tory MP for Chesham and Amersham Cheryl Gillan .
MPs rejected her proposal by 451 votes to 50, a majority of 401. Last June, 21 Conservative backbenchers opposed the government in a Commons vote laying the groundwork for HS2 and the size of the rebellion was expected to be larger on Monday night.
Tory dissenters are now clinging onto the hope that shadow chancellor Ed Balls will revive his resistance to the scheme by the general election, meaning it may never pass into law.
The government proposes to start construction in 2017, with the line between London and Birmingham due to be operational by 2026.
The bill provides:
- the authority to undertake the works required for the construction and maintenance of Phase One of HS2
- deemed planning permission for the railway
- the power to compulsorily purchase land required for the Phase One route as well as for business relocation and regeneration
- modification of existing legislative controls that are not designed for hybrid bills – this process is based on that used for HS1 and Crossrail
- the ability to nominate a person or organisation to deliver Phase One on behalf of the Secretary of State
A separate bill will be brought in later by the government to allow the the second phase – north of Birmingham – to go ahead, with the aim of that part opening in 2033.