But former Tory prime minister David Cameron said the decision would fuel the view that Britain cannot act for the long-term and is “heading in the wrong direction”. 

Boris Johnson, another former Conservative prime minister, wrote “I agree” in response to Mr Cameron’s scathing post on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

His keynote speech in Manchester saw him make several announcements, including a plan to phase out smoking, in a bid to pitch himself as a politician delivering “change” despite his party having been in power since 2010. 

Mr Sunak confirmed HS2 will run from Euston in central London to Birmingham but will no longer extend beyond the West Midlands, with Manchester among the areas missing out. 

Instead, Mr Sunak promised to use £36 billion of savings from scrapping sections of HS2 to fund a raft of other transport schemes. 

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HS2 decision signals rail project going ‘off-track’

Rishi Sunak axes HS2 but will invest funds in Scottish roads projects

What is the impact of cutting plan north of Birmingham?

HS2, announced by the last Labour government but backed by successive Tory administrations, was in 2015 given a £55.7 billion budget for its route from London to Birmingham with a Y-shaped section to Manchester and Leeds. 

But reports have suggested its costs have breached the £100 billion mark, even with the Leeds element having been binned in 2021.