Downing Street has refused to guarantee the HS2 railway line will run to Manchester as planned amid reports Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are in talks about scrapping the project’s second stage.
It comes after The Independent reported ministers were considering shelving the northern phase amid concerns about spiralling costs and severe delays.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said “spades are already in the ground on our HS2 programme and we’re focused on delivering it” but would not promise the line would go to Manchester.
“I can’t comment on speculation around a leaked document. It is obviously standard process for departments to discuss the phasing of major projects like HS2… but the work is already under way,” he said.
Asked whether the Prime Minister was committed to the line going to Manchester, the spokesman said: “We are committed to HS2, to the project.
“I can’t comment on the speculation that’s a result of a photograph. We are as you know looking at the rephasing of the work in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers.”