'Out of control!' Lee Anderson backs scrapping of HS2 and outlines 'what he wants' in local communities

'Out of control!' Lee Anderson backs scrapping of HS2 and outlines 'what he wants' in local communities
Lee Anderson MP shares his thoughts on HS2
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 02/10/2023

- 18:11

Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure

Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson told GB News that he would support the scrapping of the northern leg of HS2 as a result of its “out of control” costs.

Rishi Sunak is facing increased pressure over the matter, with Downing Street assertion that no final decision has been made.

It appears to be only a matter of time before an announcement is made, with a spokesman for Jeremy Hunt saying a “decision will be made in due course”.

“It’s not the Treasury’s announcement… It’s for the Prime Minister”, he added.

HS2 CEO and Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson wants more support for local infrastructure


Anderson admitted that while he would support the Government if they were to reaffirm their HS2 commitments, he would prefer more support for local transport links.

He told GB News: “The whole country's got to pay for this. Every single taxpayer in the UK has got to pay for this project, and it's spiralling out of control.


“Now, I'm easy with it. If it goes ahead, I'll support it, if they scrap it, I'll support that, either way, but we need a decision and we need it very, very soon, because like I say the costs each week are out of control.”

In a discussion with Patrick Christys, he continued: “Out in the streets of Ashfield, Nottinghamshire and the Midlands, ask them about levelling up and they'll say sort out the roads, schools, hospitals - they won't say build another railway called HS2. That would be at the bottom of the agenda.

“What I want in my community and across the north and in the Midlands is for a little old lady to be able to get on a bus in one village to get to the next village.

“I don't want that little old lady sat there looking through her living room window and seeing a train going by at 220 miles an hour, a train that she could never get on ever in her life.”

HS2 high vis vestHS2 has already seen its costs balloonPA

He added: “I think if you gave the public a choice, especially in where I live, between high speed rail and better busses and tram services and local regional railways, they’ll go for the latter, obviously.

“It makes common sense and it's cheaper.”

An expanded Northern Powerhouse Rail project linking northern cities and fresh cash for potholes and bus routes could be announced to soften the blow.

But the drastic cost-cutting exercise amid suggestions the price-tag has spiralled past £100 billion could also see HS2 end at Old Oak Common in the capital’s western suburbs.

Boris Johnson has warned that failing to build it to Euston would render it a “white elephant”.

Andy Street, the Tory mayor of the West Midlands, is also among the critics of scaling back the project, while London mayor Sadiq Khan warned it could make the UK a “laughing stock”.

There had been speculation Mr Sunak would announce cutting back HS2 before the Manchester conference but that did not come amid warnings it would be damaging as Conservatives descend on the city.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said curtailing HS2 would be “profoundly depressing” and leave northerners treated as “second class citizens”.

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