This is the government Minister who has been given responsibility for the HS2 project

Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson will be given full-time responsibility for overseeing the controversial HS2 high speed rail project, the Government confirmed today.

The Tory MP for Pendle, in Lancashire, was handed the role after Boris Johnson confirmed last week that the project linking London with Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester would go ahead.

The Prime Minister told the Commons that his cabinet had given the project the “green light” despite fears over its cost and impact on the environment.

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Mr Stephenson, who was named as Transport Minister in the recent reshuffle, will oversee the project and changes to the way HS2 is managed.

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He will also oversee the £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail high speed rail project linking the major cities of the North and the £29bn Trans-pennine Route upgrade between Leeds, Manchester and York.

A former Parliamentary Private Secretary to Mr Johnson as Foreign Secretary, Mr Stephenson was first elected as an MP for Pendle in 2010.

Transport Minister Andrew StephensonTransport Minister Andrew Stephenson
Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson | other

He has served as a Foreign Minister as well as working in the whips' office.

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He has previously joined lobbying efforts to get the railway line between Skipton and Colne re-opened.

His new role was confirmed the Department for Transport, who have updated his ministerial page on their website.

Northern Powerhouse Partnership Director Henri Murison said: “I welcome the appointment of Andrew Stephenson MP to the role of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail Minister.

"It is fitting that a Northern MP has been chosen to take on this vital role looking at how the two major projects can integrate fully for the maximum benefit of the North.

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“The High Speed North project is a major opportunity to fundamentally rebalance the UK economy, creating a North as prosperous as the South, and our business and civic leaders are eager to engage with government on how this project can create business growth and skilled jobs for young people across the North and the whole of the UK.

“I look forward to working closely with the Minister and will be seeking to meet with him at the earliest opportunity.”