Tory Civil War Over HS2 Intensifies As Boris Johnson Slams Sunak

The former prime minister joined David Cameron and George Osborne in attacking the decision.
Boris Johnson has joined the wave of criticism of Rishi Sunak's decision.
Boris Johnson has joined the wave of criticism of Rishi Sunak's decision.
DAN KITWOOD via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has joined the growing Tory civil war over Rishi Sunak’s decision to scrap the HS2 line to Manchester.

The former prime minister said he agreed with his fellow former prime minister, David Cameron, who said the decision was “the wrong one”.

Johnson made his unhappiness clear in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

That echoed a comment by another Tory big beast, former chancellor George Osborne.

Announcing his decision at the Tory conference in Manchester, Sunak said the money saved from axing the next phase of HS2 would be ploughed into dozens of transport projects across the country.

He said: “I say to those who backed the project in the first place, the facts have changed and the right thing to do when the facts change is to have the courage to change direction.

“And so I am ending this long-running saga. I am cancelling the rest of the HS2 project and in its place we will re-invest every single penny - £36bn in hundreds of new transport projects in the north and the Midlands across the country.”

Cameron, who was PM when parliament voted for HS2, said Sunak’s decision would be regretted by the country in the years to come.

In an apparent swipe at Sunak, Cameron said: “It will help to fuel the views of those who argue that we can no longer think or act for the long-term as a country; that we are heading in the wrong direction.”

He added: “All across the world, we see transformative, long-term infrastructure projects completed or underway. They show countries on the rise, building for future generations, thinking big and getting things done.

“I regret this decision and in years to come I suspect many will look back at today’s announcement and wonder how this once-in-a-generation opportunity was lost.”

Meanwhile, Andy Street, the Tory mayor of the West Midlands, said he had decided not to quit his party despite Sunak’s decision.

Street made an impromptu speech at the Conservative conference urging the prime minister to think again.

But following Sunak’s speech, he said: “I have always said that I would put place before party, and staying as a Conservative to work with the prime minister and his government to continue the revival of the West Midlands is doing exactly that.”


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