Will we need HS2? Of course not, in 20 years we'll have holograms says Ed Miliband's new business ambassador...

Lord Mitchell, an entrepreneur and former party spokesman in the Lords, said that he initially supported the £42.6 billion scheme but had changed his mind

The controversial plans for a high speed rail line linking London and the North are unnecessary because in 20 years' time people might be able to appear at meetings as holograms rather than needing to travel in person, Ed Miliband's new business ambassador has said.

Lord Mitchell, an entrepreneur and former party spokesman in the Lords, said that he initially supported the £42.6 billion scheme but had since changed his mind.

Earlier this month former business secretary Lord Mandelson warned HS2, which would speed up rail connections between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, could prove an "expensive mistake".

Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Mitchell said he "simply doesn't get the logic" of spending £40bn on the project when in twenty years time there maybe "technology which could transmit a perfect hologram of a person half way around the world sitting on a chair in front of us".

"A hologram where you are hard pushed to tell the real from the image. If this and thousands of other technologies that are bubbling away come to pass, who in their right mind would journey to a business meeting starting early in the day and getting home late at night?"

"It's why we should always project technology forward and factor this into all mega infrastructure decisions," he added.

Lord Mitchell added that 20 years ago no one would have predicted Skype or "thought it would be possible to watch and speak to one's children in Australia holding a small device in one's hand".

He added: "Now let's project forward. In 2033 can we imagine a technology which could transmit a perfect hologram of a person half way around the world sitting on a chair in front of us?

Additional reporting by Press Association

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