Sir Patrick McLoughlin MP has said the next Prime Minister must give their full backing to HS2.
The former ex-Chief Whip and Transport Secretary was visiting key rail suppliers in Derby as part of the Rail Fellowship Programme run by the Railway Industry Association (RIA).
Launched last year, the programme showcases the work undertaken by the UK rail supply chain by encouraging parliamentarians and other influencers to gain hands-on experience, therefore showing support for the rail industry.
In his time as Transport Secretary, Sir Patrick McLoughlin backed the HS2 project which he described as an example of “rail being put at the heart of our economic strategy.”
Progress is being made on the project; HS2 Ltd has recently revealed 9,000 jobs are already being serviced on the project and high speed trains could also run between Manchester and Liverpool as part of the major infrastructure project.
And Sir Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary between 2012 – 2016, said it would be “mad” to consider scrapping the scheme.
He said: “Our rail industry is of vital importance to the UK economy and as demand grows, the government must ensure its ambition continues to grow with it.
“HS2 is a prime example of rail being put at the heart of our economic strategy.
“As Transport Secretary, I was proud to back HS2, and every candidate running to be the next Prime Minister should back it as well.
“This is a crucial project which is delivering jobs, connectivity, and enhanced capacity for the rail network. Frankly, I think it would be mad to consider scrapping it.”
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the RIA, added: “We urge politicians of all parties in all constituencies to get behind HS2, given it will unlock significant capacity on the country’s rail network, delivering £92 billion in economic, secure 30,000 jobs, and boost investment in communities in every part of the UK.”