More uncertainty was cast over the future of HS2 today as a top Labour figure refused to commit his party to building the rail line in full.
Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, said the party wanted to ‘look at the cost’ of the beleaguered project before making a final decision.
It comes after Downing Street recently refused to guarantee HS2 will run to Manchester as originally planned.
Just days ago, a blueprint for Labour’s potential policies at the next general election stated the party would ‘deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail and High Speed 2 in full’.
But Mr McFadden, who is also shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, failed to make the same commitment in a TV interview this morning.
Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, said the party wanted to ‘look at the cost’ of the beleaguered HS2 project before making a final decision
There have been reports that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are in talks about scrapping the project’s second stage in order to save up to £35billion
HS2 is intended to link London, the Midlands and the North of England but has been plagued by delays and soaring costs
He told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show: ‘We want to see the railway being built, it looks as though the Government is now putting a question mark over this, there may be revised costs to that.
‘When this started a price tag of about £30billion was put on it. Those prices haven’t been raised since 2019 – we’ve had quite a lot of inflation since then.
‘So, I want to see what happens in the coming months, we want to see the railway being built but we’ve also – like everything else – got to look at the cost of everything we do.’
Asked to confirmed Labour would not commit to completing the full original route on HS2, he said: ‘I want to see what this costs and we’ll make those decisions when it comes to the manifesto.’
HS2 is intended to link London, the Midlands and the North of England but has been plagued by delays and soaring costs.
In March, the Government delayed the construction of HS2 between Birmingham and Crewe – known as Phase 2a of the project – by two years.
Ministers also postponed the development of a terminus at London Euston – under Phase 1 of the scheme which connects London and Birmingham – with journeys now set to initially terminate in west London at Old Oak Common.
This will force passengers to complete their complete their journeys into central London on the capital’s Underground network.
The HS2 project was first proposed in 2009. A planned extension to Leeds was controversially scrapped in November 2021.
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