The Prime Minister is expected to give HS2 the green light later today, after the £100bn infrastructure project receives final sign off at this morning’s Cabinet.
A decision on the controversial high speed rail link, which will run between London and Birmingham initially, before splitting onto two branches going onto Manchester and Leeds, had been pushed back until after the general election for fear of upsetting voters.
Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings is said to be against ploughing ahead with the project, a move which puts him at odds with a number of Cabinet ministers, most critically chancellor Sajid Javid, who gave it his backing last week.
Given that Javid controls the country’s purse strings, his endorsement was widely viewed as sealing the deal, despite spiralling costs.
The Prime Minister is understood to be conscious of precisely this and, in keeping with his recent decision for Huawei to take a limited role in building the UK’s 5G infrastructure, it is thought he could set out plans for a review of the northern section.
One option could be to build the section between Old Oak Common and Birmingham first, with the section heading into Euston carried out as a separate piece of work and the northern sections following subsequently.
Johnson is thought to be keen to back big infrastructure projects like HS2 and Huawei as part of his election promise to level up the economy to places outside of London.
One government source suggested the plan had been all-but signed off and the Prime Minister would be confirming the move as early as Tuesday lunchtime, following a morning Cabinet meeting.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Once a decision is reached in relation to HS2, then we will update parliament.”
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