Minister ‘unambitious and disrespectful’ over HS2

Patrick McLoughlin has been accused of being 'unambitious and disrespectful' over calls to bring HS2 to Scotland. Picture: Contributed
Patrick McLoughlin has been accused of being 'unambitious and disrespectful' over calls to bring HS2 to Scotland. Picture: Contributed
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A NEW row over bringing the high-speed rail line HS2 to Scotland erupted today when infrastructure secretary Keith Brown accused UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin of being “unambitious and disrespectful”.

Mr Brown told MSPs he had been repeatedly rebuffed in attempts to see Mr McLoughlin, who he had yet to meet nearly three years after his appointment.

The SNP minister also accused the UK Government of leaking to the Independent on Sunday a study which reportedly said that building HS2 as far as Scotland would not be viable.

Last year, The Scotsman reported that the head of the project believed a new line across the Border would be “ambitious” and upgrading existing tracks would be more realistic.

Mr Brown said: “The UK Government has been unambitious and disrespectful because of a complete lack of dialogue and for leaking the report.”

He said he had written to Mr McLoughlin seeking a meeting three times since last year.

He said: “I have made it clear to Mr McLoughlin that high-speed rail must come to Scotland.”

HS2 is due to connect London with Leeds and Manchester in about 15 years time, but Mr Brown said ending the line there would put Scotland “at a significant disadvantage.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “The UK Government is committed to a genuinely national high speed rail network and Scotland will benefit from high speed services from the moment HS2 opens.

“We have been working closely with the Scottish Government and we look forward to this co-operation continuing, so we can maximise the benefits that Scotland gets from a High Speed Britain.”