This week’s newspapers carried the intriguing suggestion that Boris Johnson might re-order the construction of High Speed Two so that the railway’s northern sections are constructed first.
The new review of HS2 ordered by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is theoretically empowered to make a decision on whether or not to proceed with it at all.
Yet whilst the idea of scrapping it altogether will strongly appeal to many activists and MPs, there doesn’t appear to be any real expectation that this will happen. It would certainly be an unusual start for a Prime Minister with a track record of enthusiasm for high-profile infrastructure projects, and key political supporters of the project such as Andy Street are on the commission.
One might perhaps expect Dominic Cummings, who has been quoted as calling HS2 a “disaster zone”, to perhaps drive a move against it. But as he attempts to overhaul the Government and prepare the country for a no-deal exit from the European Union in the autumn, it’s unlikely he’ll have the bandwidth to imprint himself as totally on the Prime Minister’s agenda as some myth-makers might suggest.