‘I haven’t broken any promise!’ Boris Johnson forced to defend plans to change pledge

HS2: Boris Johnson defends scrapping of Leeds link

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Boris Johnson denied breaking his promise to the people of the North after the Government confirmed changes to the HS2 train line on Thursday. The original plan for HS2 was to lessen the commute time and to help boost the economy of the North. Plans for the new train line have attracted much criticism over the past few years due to the system being built through parts of the countryside.

Channel 4 reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy confronted Boris Johnson about his change of plans: “You’ve broken your promises to people here, pledges on Leeds to Manchester…

“You promised Northern Powerhouse Rail between Leeds and Manchester, you are talking about speed, not capacity. Do you think the people in the North are stupid?”

The Prime Minister replied:  “You’re talking total rubbish because we’re doubling capacity between Manchester and Leeds.

“We’re trembling capacity between Liverpool and Manchester.

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“This is the biggest investment in rail in the history of the country, at least for a hundred years and it’s a fantastic thing.”

When pushed to explain more about the changes, Mr Johnson explained: “What it does is it delivers the types of commuter service that people have been expecting, people have got entitled to.

“In the south-east of the country, and it will deliver that.

“And also it will deliver better services for places that weren’t on the original plan – Huddersfield, Wakefield, Leicester, all sorts of places will benefit from what we’re doing.

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“In virtually every case Krishnan, in virtually every case you will find that journey times are shorter and capacity is going up.” 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps backed the Prime Minister’s decision denying he had broken his promises.

Speaking to Sky on Thursday, Mr Shapps said: “They are absolutely being fulfilled. We are producing that around 30-minute journey from Manchester to Leeds,” Johnson told Sky News.

“When it comes to HS2, we are going to deliver HS2 trains (we are looking at) the best way to do that into Leeds.


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Boris’s decision has left many Northerners feeling betrayed and let down despite his and Mr Shapps insisting that their promise to the people of the North is being fulfilled.

The previous plans were supposed to create connections between the major city centers of Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester with London.

Bradford also missed out on a network upgrade despite being one of the UK’s worst connected cities currently with rail times that take over an hour and should take thirty minutes.

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