AN internal Tory war has been sparked by a report that the HS2 cost will hit £106billion.
Thirty MPs have written to Boris Johnson backing the 250mph line, while at least 20 are against it.
Northern business leaders rapped the leaked review for hinting the second phase of the line, to Manchester and Leeds, should be paused — but the London-Birmingham route should go ahead.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: “It’s the same story. London and the South gets what it wants but it’s penny-pinching in the North.”
Yet Tory Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, called it an “obscene waste” and the funds should go to “infrastructure we need in the North”.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps said a decision might be made before the Budget in March.
He said: “I asked Doug Oakervee to do that report and said to him ‘give me the facts, give me the data, give us the information so we can make a proper informed decision’.
“I’ve always approached this from a relatively neutral point of view and that information will help to inform a decision that is best for the whole country.” He said: “£106bn is unlikely to be the final figure for HS2.
“This white elephant must be scrapped so we can invest in regional infrastructure projects, which will provide greater benefits for all.”
But the Network Rail Chief Executive of National Rail Andrew Haines revealed that without HS2 upgrading existing line would cause years of disruption.