Mike Kane MP:
As the Secretary of State is an avid Manchester United fan, may I ask him what first attracted him to extending the high-speed line from his home in the south-east to his beloved Old Trafford? Secondly, what discussions he has had with Transport for Greater Manchester about extending the light rail network out to the HS2 station at Manchester airport in my constituency?
Chris Grayling, Minister:
On the latter point, there is an obvious logic in continuing to develop the Metrolink network. We have just announced additional routes to the west of the centre—indeed, passing pretty close to Old Trafford—so I am very open to discussing with the new Mayor, when he or she is elected in the summer, the ways in which we can continue to develop the transport system in Manchester.
As for the direct route between Surrey and Old Trafford, although they say that most Manchester United supporters live in Surrey, I suspect that we might struggle to get the passenger numbers to justify a high-speed route all that way.