Scrap HS2 and spend the money on potholes! Tory MPs join forces to urge Boris Johnson to invest £106billion on roads, buses and better local trains
- Tory MPs opposed to HS2 have released a video calling for it to be scrapped
- Want Boris Johnson to spend the money on fixing potholes and improving buses
- There are growing concerns about the cost of planned high speed rail network
- Leaked government review said it could ultimately cost taxpayers £106 billion
Boris Johnson is facing a growing political storm over HS2 as Tory MPs joined forces to call on the Prime Minister to scrap the project and invest the cash in smaller initiatives.
A group of anti-HS2 Conservative MPs from across the country have published a video on YouTube in which they all spell out their objections to the planned high speed rail network.
They want Mr Johnson to ditch the massive infrastructure plan and reallocate the funding to pay for things like better local rail services, pothole repairs and improved rural buses.
The publication of the video comes after a Whitehall spending watchdog report concluded HS2 is over budget and behind schedule because of its complexity.
The National Audit Office also found that the risks associated with the project had been under-estimated and it is impossible to ‘estimate with certainty what the final cost could be’.
A government-commissioned review led by former HS2 Ltd chairman Doug Oakervee leaked earlier this week stated that the project’s bill could reach £106 billion, having been costed at £56 billion in 2015.
Boris Johnson, pictured in Downing Street today, is facing growing political pressure from within the Conservative Party to scrap HS2
Andy Carter and Dehenna Davison are among a group of Tory MPs who are lobbying Mr Johnson to ditch HS2. They have published a YouTube video in which they call for the funding to be used to pay for better local infrastructure
Mr Johnson is due to make a final decision in the coming weeks on whether to proceed with HS2.
But regardless of whether he scraps the project or decides to allow it to go ahead he will face fierce criticism, with his own party firmly divided on the merits of HS2.
Tory MPs who are against the new line which is designed to better connect London with a number of cities in the north of England are now ramping up their calls for the project to be shelved.
In a video posted on YouTube, successive Conservative MPs list their concerns about the initiative and urge the PM to halt it.
Dehenna Davison, the Conservative MP for Bishop Auckland, said: ‘In my constituency we don’t really need HS2, but we we’ll all be paying for it.
‘What we need instead is our Toft Hill bypass, repairs to our historic bridges and improved rural bus services.’
James Grundy, the Tory MP for Leigh, said: ‘We don’t need HS2 in our constituency but we will all be paying for it.
‘What we need instead is a station for Leigh to reconnect us to the national rail network.’
Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield, echoed a similar sentiment and said: ‘It’s quite clear as I speak to my constituents that they do not want to pay for HS2. They see no benefit to it.
HS2 is designed to better connect London and a number of cities in the north of England but there are increasing concerns about the cost of the project
‘But what they do want to see is better local rural bus services and they want to see our potholes filled.’
An estimated £8 billion has already been spent on HS2 and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps recently said a final decision on whether to go ahead with the project will be made in ‘weeks rather than months’.
Responding to the publication of the NAO report, an HS2 Ltd spokesman said: ‘After being appointed HS2 Ltd CEO in 2017, Mark Thurston identified the serious challenges of complexity and risk in the project, and he made several significant changes and improvements to the organisation, its governance and processes.
‘As the NAO recognises, this work – along with a greater understanding of the ground conditions and build requirements – means ministers have robust cost estimates for Phase One of the HS2 project.’