The government has been accused of “betrayal” over the revised HS2 plan in the northern England and the Midlands.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the £96bn Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) will help to cut journey times as there will be 110 miles of new high speed line.
Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon said the government has abandoned their previous assurances of the HS2 extension.
McMahon told MPs in the house of Commons, it was “the betrayal of trust, the betrayal of promises and the betrayal of investment the north of England and the Midlands deserve.
“There is no amount of gloss, no amount of spin that can be put on this.
“He promised HS2 to Leeds, he promised Northern Powerhouse Rail, he promised that the North would not be forgotten. But he hasn’t just forgotten us, he has completely sold us out.”
By cutting back on the HS2 plans journey times between London and Leeds will now take some 32 minutes longer.
However, Shapps told MPs, “Our plans go above and beyond the initial ambitions of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail by delivering benefits for communities no matter their size, right across the North and Midlands, up to 10 to 15-years earlier.”
Shapps said under the original plans HS2 would take until the early 2040’s to reach the North and Midlands.
He continued that the new programme will allow travellers to see the benefits of more improved links to the region “much, much sooner.”
Shapps added, “It is an ambitious and unparalleled programme that not only overhauls the inter city links between the North and Midlands but also speeds up the benefits for local areas and serves destinations people most want to reach.
“This plan will bring the North and the Midlands closer together, it will fire up economies to rival London and the South East, it will rebalance our economic geography, it will spread opportunity, it will level up the country.
“It will bring benefits at least a decade or more earlier.”
The Conservative Chairman of the Commons Transport Committee Huw Merriman blasted Boris Johnson for going against promises he had previously given to the public.
Merriman said, “The Prime Minister promised that HS2 and Northern Powerhouse rail was not an either/or option and those in Leeds and Bradford may be forgiven for viewing it today as neither.
“This is the danger in selling perpetual sunlight and leaving the others to explain the arrival of moonlight.”