Rishi Sunak: ‘I am cancelling the rest of the HS2 project’

The PM has labelled HS2 “the ultimate example of the old consensus” in his speech to Conservative Party conference, and hit out at the soaring costs and long delays.

“I am cancelling the rest of the HS2 project”, he declared

He explained the government will instead reinvest the savings — £36bn — in “hundreds of new transport projects in the North and the Midlands, and across the country”.

Sunak said the “facts have changed” and the “right thing to do is to change direction”.

In place of HS2, the PM outlined what he is calling the “Network North”.

“Every region outside of London will receive the same or more government investment than they would have done under HS2 with quicker results”, he said.

“No government has ever developed a more ambitious scheme for northern transport, than our new Network North.”

Also in his speech to Conservative Party conference, Rishi Sunak said that since he became prime minister in October last year the government has “done good things in that time, we have made progress on our five priorities”.

He added that there is a feeling that “politics just doesn’t work the way it should” in this country”, and he said that feeling is right.

He argues vested interests stand in the way of change, and the political system is “too focussed on short-term advantage” — but “I won’t be this way”.

“Our mission is to fundamentally change our country”, he declared, adding that only the Conservatives can deliver change to Britain’s structural challenges.

He said: “Where a consensus is false, we will challenge it. Where a vested interest is placing itself above the needs of the people, we will stop it. And where common sense is under attack from an organised assault, we will defend it”.

The PM began his speech by thanking his wife, Akshata Murthy, joking that she is “truly the best long-term decision for a brighter future I ever made”.

It came after Ms Murthy gave a very personal speech to introduce her husband.

She called the prime minister “fun, thoughtful, compassionate, with an incredible zest for life… with a strong understanding of right and wrong”.

The last time a prime minister’s spouse addressed a party conference was Sarah Brown’s 2009 address to the Labour party conference.

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