Sunak refuses to be ‘rushed’ on HS2, says he will not be ‘forced into premature decision’

Rishi Sunak has said this morning that he wants to make the “right decision for the country” on HS2 as he insisted ministers would not be “rushed” on the subject.

Multiple outlets are reporting Sunak has decided to axe the line and will make an announcement in his keynote speech at conference tomorrow.

Number 10 has said that such reports are “incorrect”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the prime minister said: “I know you want to keep asking, I know there is lots of speculation but all I can say is I am not going to be forced into a premature decision because it is good for someone’s TV programme.

“What I want to do is make the right decision for the country. This is an enormous amount of people’s money. Taxpayers’ money. Everybody watching. Billions and billions of pounds.

He added: “We shouldn’t be rushed into things like that. What people would expect from me is to take the time to go over it properly and make sure we make the right long term decision for the country. That is what I am interested in doing.”

Asked whether he had “given up” on the high-speed rail link between Birmingham and Manchester, Sunak said: “Absolutely not. We have got spades on the ground on HS2 as we speak and we’re getting on and delivering it.

“But it’s not the only thing we’re doing to help spread opportunity and level up around the country.”

Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, accused the prime minister of “pulling the rug” on the north of England over the reported decision to scrap the HS2 line between Birmingham and Manchester.

He told the BBC: “Look at the place. The place is doing so well at the moment. We have just brought in a new public transport system ourselves. Investors are flocking here.

“We are growing faster than the UK economy and you are going to pull the rug on us at this moment?

“Please, Prime Minister, at least give us a conversation, give us a chance to influence your decision before you make it.”

It comes after Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street vowed not to let the government scrap HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester “without a fight”.

Street told the prime minister that he has a “very stark” choice in front of him over the future of HS2, explaining he would be throwing away a “once in a generation” opportunity to “level up”. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.