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The moment a government minister dodges questions and REFUSES to confirm HS2 will reach Manchester

A government minister has refused to confirm that HS2 will reach Manchester after MPs asked if the north of England is being 'abandoned'. Conservative MP Richard Holden repeatedly refused to answer whether the northern leg of the high-speed railway line will be built in Parliament today (September 18).

It follows reports last week that the government is considering shelving the second phase of HS2 amid concerns about spiralling costs and severe delays. A senior Labour figure also failed to commit to completing the controversial project when asked by the BBC over the weekend, but Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said this morning his party's policy remains unchanged.

Speaking in Parliament this afternoon, Labour's shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh asked the government to confirm that high speed trains will reach Manchester by 2041. But, speaking on behalf of the government, Mr Holden would not confirm the commitment made just a few months ago.

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The North West Durham MP, who is a parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Transport, was asked directly by several MPs whether HS2 will reach the north. But he repeatedly dodged the question, and instead told MPs that ministers will continue to regularly update Parliament on HS2.

In one exchange, Broughton and Blackley MP Graham Stringer asked the minister for an 'unambiguous answer'. He said: "Is this government still committed to building HS2 to Manchester from Euston? Because people in the North need to know whether or not they are being abandoned, because it looks like that to me from the press reports that journalists haven't made up.

"Isn't it the