A controversial Bill allowing the Government to spend cash preparing for HS2 has been passed - after being backed by MPs from across the West Midlands and Staffordshire.
MPs voted by 350 to 34 to approve the High Speed Rail Preparation Bill, which will allow the Government to spend money planning the route in detail and buying up property from residents and businesses along the proposed track.
It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of the importance of HS2 when he visited construction business Carillion in Wolverhampton yesterday.
He said: “We need everyone to get behind HS2. It’s about capacity - our West Coast Mainline is full.
“It will link eight of the 10 biggest cities in the country - it’s an absolutely vital programme.”
Seven of the region’s MPs voted for, while three were against. Among these were Dudley South MP Chris Kelly - who was the only Black Country representative to oppose the bill.
Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy and Stone’s MP Bill Cash also voted against the bill for the £50 billion scheme that will rip through Staffordshire countryside, while Cannock Chase MP Aidan Burley and Lichfield’s Michael Fabricant voted in favour.
A hybrid Bill, paving the way for construction of the line, is expected to be published in the coming weeks and voted on in the spring.
Mr Fabricant said he would be taking a stance against the hybrid Bill but had voted for the preparation Bill as it will enable crucial funds to be released in order to provide compensation for people affected by the line.
The bill won support from other Midland MPs including Walsall North MP David Winnick, Dudley North MP Ian Austin, Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris, Wyre Forest’s
Mark Garnier, Stourbridge MP Margot James and South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson.
All other MPs from the region either abstained or did not vote.
There had been fears Labour could oppose the bill.
With a number of Tory MPs expected to be amongst those voting against the high speed rail line, there were fears the project could have been halted.
It will now go to the House of Lords for further scrutiny by peers.
HS2 bill - How our MPs voted
Walsall North MP David Winnick
Dudley North MP Ian Austin
Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP James Morris
Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier
South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant
Cannock Chase MP Aidan Burley
Dudley South MP Chris Kelly
Stone MP Bill Cash
Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy