"They lied to us": Leeds MP hits out as government officially cancel Leeds leg of HS2

A Leeds MP has hit out at "government lies" as the long rumoured Leeds leg of the HS2 was cancelled as part of the Government's Integrated Rail Plan today.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 11:45 am

Speaking exclusively to the YEP, Leeds central MP Hilary Benn delivered a scathing verdict on the actions of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government.

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"This is a betrayal and the Prime Minister has broken his word. He repeatedly promised that the HS2 would come to Leeds," he said "He repeatedly promised we would see Northern powerhouse rail in full and it looks as though neither is going to happen."

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The Eastern leg of the HS2 promised a brand new station built in Leeds and significantly reduced train times. Picture: Asadour Guzelian.

The Eastern leg of the HS2 has been the centre of much discussion in recent months with today's full announcement of the Government's Integrated Rail Plan killing the plans once and for all.

Mr Benn added: "On Thursday, we will discover that the Government didn't have a bold vision and they weren't prepared to keep the promise they made and that's why the first word I used was it's a betrayal."

These are views widely echoed by fellow Leeds MPs with Fabian Hamilton, the MP for Leeds North East, viewing it as a further example of the Conservative government going against their word.

“This is another example of the Conservatives saying one thing and doing another. They have no plan for improving public transport in Yorkshire, which is in need of urgent investment." he said "The constant cuts to Leeds City Council’s budget has made this much more difficult than it needed to be. The responsibility for Leeds being one of the worst connected cities in the country lies squarely at the feet of this Conservative Government."

"In the interests of our city’s economic and environmental prosperity, the Government must properly invest in our public transport system right now, particularly in the construction of a metro system.”

MP for North West Alex Sobel meanwhile has discussed what he described as the "devastating effect" the cancellation will have on the local economy.

"Today’s announcement that HS2 will now stop in Sheffield, means the Government have gone back on their promised connectivity of the North. It will have a devastating effect economically, with Leeds now set to lose around £1.7 million of investment." he said "Thousands of commuters will still have to travel up and down the motorways as opposed to being able to access cleaner greener transport."

Mr Sobel further questioned last month's budget announcement stating: "Good quality, fast rail services and improved bus services are desperately need for the whole of the North, not cheaper domestic flights which were announced at the Budget.

"Many people will be feeling extremely let down and angry this morning."

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and Labour MP for Leeds West Rachel Reeves this morning took to Twitter to express her disappointment.

"Disappointing and shameful to see the Conservatives break their promise on HS2." she tweeted "Yorkshire and the North deserve better."

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