'The height of insanity!' Boris Johnson tears into Sunak over plans to axe HS2

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has torn into Rishi Sunak over unconfirmed plans to scrap the northern leg of HS2

PA
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke


Published: 25/09/2023

- 08:48

Updated: 25/09/2023

- 09:26

The Government refused to rule out scrapping the northern leg, which runs from Birmingham to Manchester

Boris Johnson has torn into Rishi Sunak over unconfirmed plans to scrap the northern leg of HS2.

He said that the decision, which is currently under consideration, is "total Treasury-driven nonsense", saying it makes "no sense at all to deliver a mutilated HS2".


Last week, the Government refused to rule out scrapping the northern leg, which runs from Birmingham to Manchester.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said that ministers have to "respond to the circumstances", when asked about the project.

WATCH NOW: Housing Minister says 'no decisions' have been made on HS2

This comes just one week before the Conservative Party heads to Manchester for the annual party conference.

Speaking to Sky, Shapps added: "We did not know there would be [a] coronavirus pandemic.

"You must look at the sequencing of the big infrastructure cash that you spend. Any government that does not do that, any opposition who claims you do not need to, is not fit to govern this country."

But Housing Minister Rachel Maclean told GB News that "no decisions" have been made on HS2 yet.

Hitting out at the lack of commitment to the northern leg, Johnson told the Times: "It is the height of insanity to announce all this just before a party conference in Manchester.

"It is no wonder that Chinese universities teach the constant cancellation of UK infrastructure as an example of what is wrong with democracy."

Cosnervaitve Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said a decision to scrap the northern section of the project would represent the "most expensive white elephant in UK history", warning that it would be "a disaster for the country".

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Meanwhile, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham claimed that the PM is "pulling the rug from under us", while local government was doing the levelling up legwork.

He added: "Why are we always treated as second-class citizens when it comes to transport?

"If they leave a situation where . . . the southern half of the country is connected by modern high-speed lines and the north of England is left with Victorian infrastructure, that is a recipe for the north-south divide to become a north-south chasm over the rest of this century."

Grant Shapps

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said that ministers have to "respond to the circumstances", when asked about the project

PA

Speaking to GB News, Maclean added: "I think more broadly, you can see this Government's commitment to connectivity and transport across the whole country.

"We've put £33 billion into levelling up the north since this government has been in office.

"And we will continue to look at these projects that are going to boost that connectivity and economic growth all over the whole of the United Kingdom."

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