A COUNCIL leader in Warwickshire has attacked an MP’s claims Labour would "dump” a maintenance depot for high speed rail in the county.
North Warwickshire Borough Council Labour leader Mick Stanley accused Tory North Warwickshire MP Dan Byles of "spreading rumours”, "tall tales” and "hypocrisy”.
Mr Byles claimed he was "furious” that Labour planned to "dump the bad bits” of the planned HS2 line in his constituency, rather than in Birmingham as currently planned.
MPs and councils in Coventry and Warwickshire oppose HS2, initially between London and Birmingham, arguing 225mph trains ripping through local countryside would bring no economic local benefits.
Mr Byles was responding to remarks in the Commons by Birmingham Labour MP Liam Byrne about alternative sites for the depot, which were understood to refer to Middleton or Coleshill, which would be closer to a planned HS2 junction.
Mr Byrne had said, if Labour won the next election in 2015, it would consider an alternative site, if laws are still not passed by then.
Mr Byles insisted Labour should stick with building the depot in Washwood Heath, in east Birmingham, where Mr Byrne wants a 7,500-job business park instead.
But Mr Stanley said: "I was horrified when Tory MP Mr Dan Byles spread rumours that the HS2 marshalling yard would end up in North Warwickshire.
"I contacted senior Labour officials and politicians, to find out what was going on. I can confirm that, despite Mr Byles’ tall tales, there are no plans from the Labour party, and never have been any plans, to put the marshalling yard in North Warwickshire. Under my leadership, the Labour council has allocated £80,000 to the help fund the legal challenges against HS2. We will fight for North Warwickshire.
"Liam Byrne can speak for his Hodge Hill constituency, but he has no right to say where the marshalling yard will go.
"I am more disappointed with the North Warwickshire MP though. Dan Byles has tried to make mischief and to worry local people, rather than helping them.
"Once again ‘Desperate Dan’ has branded rumour as fact and played party political games over HS2.
"A couple of weeks ago he had a go at me for criticising his government’s decision to extend HS2 through North Warwickshire. He said I was being party political. Now he attacks Labour when it suits him. It is pure hypocrisy.
"In 2010, Mr Byles led people to believe his party would change the local route of HS2, when he knew they wouldn’t. Now he is coming out with these rumours.”