Liberal Democrats have slammed the delay of HS2 as a 'shambles' and a 'monumental failure for the North'.
The comments from senior Liberal Democrats in the North come as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today announced that phase two of the project has been pushed back to 2040.
This is despite rail infrastructure across the North being in the worst state for decades and in desperate need of upgrades.
The second phase to Manchester and Leeds was due to open in 2032.
Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West Jane Brophy said:
“The Tories’ long-term indecision and incompetence was always going to cost taxpayers and fail Northerners the most.
“The Liberal Democrats have always been absolutely clear that HS2 construction should have started in the North. Then, when the project inevitably encountered the issues it has, the areas most in need of infrastructure upgrades would have received them first.
“However, as things stand, rail links in London and the South will still be upgraded, whilst Northern links are left in their dire 1970s state – as usual."
John Leech, who was on the Transport Select Committee during HS2's early stages, first called for the project to begin in Manchester in a heated debate over a decade ago. The Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Manchester added:
“The Lib Dems have been calling for the North to get its fair share of upgraded railways for decades now. Whilst our calls have gone ignored, prices are higher and trains are worse than ever before.
"This is a predictable shambles from a London-obsessed Government and a monumental failure for the North.
"Only the Liberal Democrats are committed to fixing our railways and closing the North/South funding gap."