Boris Johnson: 'Madness that Leeds does not have metro rail system'

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Tory leadership frontrunner Boris Johnson said it was 'madness' that Leeds does not have a metro rail system as he launched his bid to become Prime Minister.

Speaking at his campaign launch on Wednesday morning, Mr Johnson said he could unite the country after the Brexit vote by investing in 'every region'.

Boris Johnson at Leeds Dock for his Vote Leave campaign.

Boris Johnson at Leeds Dock for his Vote Leave campaign.

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The former London Mayor is the favourite to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister.

Leeds is the largest city in Europe without any form of light rail or underground.

Plans for two such schemes, the NGT trolleybus and Supertram, have been scrapped over the years, despite tens of millions being spent.
Mr Johnson also raised the importance of Northern Powerhouse Rail, the £39bn plan to transform east-west links across the North of England to connect major towns and cities via high speed services.

Mr Johnson, who was a highly recognisable figure on leave side in the EU referendum, said: "We all know there is a huge gulf in the prosperity between London and the south-east, the most productive region in the whole of Europe, and the rest of the UK.

"And so if we are to respond to that profound message of the Brexit vote, if we are to unite our country and unite our society then we must fight now for those that feel left behind.

"We need now to level up, not to neglect our capital, of course not, but to put in the infrastructure that will lift every region - Northern Powerhouse rail, proper connectivity in the West Midlands.

Mr Johnson said it was 'absurd' that Spain had 80 per cent coverage of fibre optic broadband against only seven per cent in the UK.

"[It is] madness that Leeds should be the largest city in Europe with no metro rail system," he added.

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He also pledged to end the 'injustice' of education funding gap in schools and do more to fund further education colleges which are 'too often forgotten'.

He added: "Because it should be our fundamental moral purpose as a government not just to bridge the wealth gap, not just the productivity gap, but the opportunity gap between one part of the UK and another

"And I know we can do it. I know we can reunite our country and our society because I have seen and used exactly those too ls to help to unite our capital, the greatest city on earth."

Mr Johnson also said he is 'not aiming for a no-deal outcome' for Brexit - but said leaving with no deal was a 'vital tool of negotiation' and that the UK 'must do better than the current withdrawal agreement'.