Newcastle North MP and Chair of the All-Party Group for the East Coast Main Line, Catherine McKinnell, has slammed Government inaction on investing in Northern railway connectivity.

Speaking in Parliament, Catherine stated that “Next week will mark two years since the Prime Minister promised to build Northern Powerhouse Rail, connecting Newcastle to the North’s other major cities.

“Yet in the past few days the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands has been delayed yet again, pushing back Northern Powerhouse Rail by at least a year, and we’ve heard that construction on the eastern leg of HS2 has stopped.

“Delivering HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in full, alongside upgrades to the East Coast Main Line, are all essential parts of a transformational project to connect the country by rail.”

Catherine called for a debate to be held as soon as possible “so we can tell the Government that building 21st century rail links between London and Birmingham while passengers in the north are left behind makes a mockery of levelling up”.

Following the question Catherine said:

 “It’s deeply concerning that the Government has again cast doubt on the future of Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Eastern Leg of HS2, despite previous assurances from the Prime Minister and the Transport Secretary.

“Northern Powerhouse Rail, along with HS2 and upgrades to the East Coast Main Line, is a coherent, transformational project to boost regional and national productivity and connectivity.

We can’t afford to abandon this plan and return to the piecemeal, ad-hoc approach to rail infrastructure that has failed the North East for decades and left us with a rail network that is not fit for purpose. If the Government is serious about levelling up, it must ensure high speed rail works for the north, just for London and Birmingham.”