Jeremy Vine Rinses Rishi Sunak Over HS2 In Excruciating Interview

The prime minister was left stuttering after a grilling from the BBC Radio 2 presenter.
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak faced another embarrassing interview as BBC Radio 2′s Jeremy Vine took him to task on HS2.

It comes after the prime minister finally admitted that he would scrap the Manchester leg of the project and reinvest the funds into other transport projects across the country.

However, it emerged some of these planned investment projects already existed.

Some of the proposals even vanished from the list just days after they were announced.

Appearing on BBC Radio 2, unusually timed as the Labour Party Conference is in full-swing, Sunak was grilled by Vine on the plans.

“I was going through some of the other projects. Funding to Greater Manchester could mean the Metrolink tram network being extended to Manchester Airport that’s already opened. It opened in 2014. What was that? Just a mistake or?” Vine asked.

Dodging the question, Sunak replied: “There’s a range of illustrative projects that could be funded.

“But ultimately, it’s going to be local leaders who are in charge. So that’s one of the changes, rather than Westminster politicians dictating to areas what they should do.”

Vine interrupted, saying: “You said these things though! You said you would quadruple the number of trains between Sheffield and Leeds.

“It’s been pointed out there are five an hour each way already so you’ll be promising 20 trains an hour, one every three minutes.”

A confused prime minister replied: “I’m not sure I recognise those numbers.

Clearly sceptical, Vine said: “None of the stuff you’ve announced is going to happen is it? None of it. We are all onto it.”

Flustered, Sunak responded: “No!

Do you know why it’s going to happen? Because actually that money is going to be given to local areas. So it’s going to be them that are going to be allowed to spend it.

Vine continued to press the prime minister for a straight answer, saying: “When you announced these projects, I thought they were happening. Genuinely. I made a mistake there, did I?”

Still failing to give a direct answer, Sunak said, “I’ve been prime minister for less than a year.

“There’s a lot that I’ve been getting on with - bringing inflation down reducing the number of boats and I’ve been taking a long hard look at this.

“This is not a decision that you should make overnight, given the scale of the sums involved and obviously is a big decision.

“I’m new to this job - relatively. I’m keen to do the right thing for the long term benefit of the country, even if that’s difficult and people are going to criticise me for it.”


What's Hot