Conservative MPs criticize ‘disappointing’ £ 96bn Integrated Railway Plan

Conservative MPs criticized the government after it blunted its railway plans and confirmed that part of the high-speed HS2 line would be removed.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, revealed the £ 96bn Integrated Railway Plan on Thursday, which he said would reduce travel times across the region by 110 miles of a new high-speed line.

But the original proposal to extend HS2 from the East Midlands to Leeds was rejected.

The Northern Powerhouse Rail project has also been downgraded as a new line from Leeds to Manchester via Bradford will not be built.

Huw Merriman, the Conservative chairman of the transport committee, told the Commons: “The Prime Minister has promised that HS2 and Northern Powerhouse rail is not or / or an election and those in Leeds and Bradford can be forgiven for looking at it today as neither.

“There is the danger of selling perpetual sunlight and letting others explain the arrival of moonlight.

Robbie Moore, the Conservative MP for Keighley, said he was “deeply disappointed”.

“The Bradford district was, in my opinion, completely shortened,” he said.

“We are one of the most socially deprived parts of the UK and we need to get better transport connectivity, and I still want to see Northern Powerhouse Rail delivered with a main stop in Bradford so we can unlock our economic opportunities.”

Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh said while he believed HS2 was a “white elephant” it was now a “white elephant missing a leg”.

“We have been promised that it will alleviate congestion on the east coast as it goes to Leeds,” he said.

But Shapps defended the railroad plan: “It is an ambitious and unparalleled program that not only reviews the intercity links between the North and Midland, but also accelerates the benefits for local areas and serves destinations that people most want to reach.

“This plan will bring the North and Midlands closer together, it will start economies to compete with London and the South East, it will rebalance our economic geography, it will spread opportunity, it will level the country.”

Shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon said it was “the betrayal of faith, the betrayal of promises and the betrayal of investment the north of England and the Midland deserve”.

He told MPs: “There is no amount of shine, no amount of spin that can be put on this.

“He promised HS2 to Leeds, he promised Northern Powerhouse Rail, he promised the North would not be forgotten. But he not only forgot us, he completely sold us out.”

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