Now George Osborne rails against scrapping HS2 northern leg: Ex-Tory chancellor ... trends now
In an article for the Times newspaper with Tory grandee Lord Heseltine, the former Chancellor warned the Prime Minister about damaging Britain's reputation and protecting his own legacy.
He wrote: 'Governments are remembered for what they build and create. Make this mistake, and yours may only be known for what it cancelled and curtailed.'
Citing Boris Johnson's winning message in the 2019 election, they added: 'How could ever again claim to be levelling up when you cancel the biggest levelling-up project in the country?'
The former Chancellor's intervention comes as ministers are due to make a decision on the northern leg this week.
The former Chancellor's intervention comes as ministers are due to make a decision on the northern leg this week
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said it would be 'crazy' not to review HS2 yesterday as the Government looks set to axe the high-speed rail project's northern leg within days.
Downing Street sources insisted no decision has yet been made. But an announcement on whether to scrap the line from Birmingham to Manchester is expected imminently.
It is likely to come ahead of the Conservative Party conference, which will be held in Manchester, starting this weekend. Mr Shapps, a former transport secretary, warned yesterday that the Government could not write an 'open-ended cheque' if costs were 'inexorably going higher and higher'.
He suggested it would be 'crazy' not to have another look at the scheme after inflation spiralled following the outbreak of war in Ukraine and in the wake of the pandemic. 'I think the sequencing of what happens next is a perfectly legitimate question,' he said.
He told the BBC: 'We have seen the costs accelerate a lot. Of course, inflation has been part of that.
'There are various different estimates and I think that's one of the things that the Government wants to check, particularly on the costs now post the inflationary picture out of the war in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor