High-speed rail pledge

LONDON to Ipswich in less than an hour – that could become the norm during the next few years, according to Transport Secretary Lord Andrew Adonis.

And he also promised motorists in the west of the region that a returned Labour government would press ahead with proposals to complete the dualling of the A11 in the county.

During a visit to Ipswich in support of his junior minister Chris Mole, Lord Adonis said he hoped the new franchise-holder for East Anglia would speed up trains on the InterCity route.

He said: “I support the concept of London to Norwich in 90 minutes – and that would mean journeys to Ipswich taking just under an hour.”

With just one section of the A11 dualling waiting to be completed in the Elveden area, he said: “This is in the roads programme and I can give you an assurance it will be built.

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“That is, of course, so long as Labour wins the election and there is a Labour transport minister after May 6. The Conservatives are pledged to cut �6billion in the first few days so they cannot give any guarantees about road projects like the A11.”

However, West Suffolk Conservative candidate Matthew Hancock was unimpressed by Lord Adonis’s comments – and said Labour had said earlier there was still no firm commitment to it.

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Mr Hancock said: “There will be a review of proposed spending projects and they will have to be shown to offer good value for money. But I can’t imagine any project that offers better value for money than the final section of dual carriageway for the A11.”

Lord Adonis – a former Lib Dem councillor – urged members of his former party in Ipswich to back Chris Mole in the election.

He said: “I know that Liberal Democrats, like Labour supporters, believe in public service – and the only way you are going to get an MP who backs public service representing Ipswich is by voting for Chris Mole.”

He had no advice for Labour voters in South Suffolk where their party is third and Liberal Democrat Nigel Bennett is hoping to get some to switch to help erode Tim Yeo’s 6,600 majority.

“I’m here to support the campaign in Ipswich, not in South Suffolk,” he said bluntly.

Ipswich Lib Dem candidate Mark Dyson said both Labour and the Conservatives should worry about voters switching to him.

He said: “We are finding support all over the place, from ‘soft’ supporters of both the other main parties – they are right to be worried. We might actually come through and win!”

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