The majority of Conservative voters are opposed to HS2 and want the next leader of the party to scrap the £56billion project, a new poll claims.
An American pollster put together a memo stating two thirds of Tory voters see the rail line as an ‘expensive extravagance’.
The figures have been seen by senior figures within the party who could be potential leadership contenders if Theresa May steps down, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
These include Boris Johnson, who has publicly attacked HS2, David Davis, Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom, who has also voiced concerns over the scheme.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss, said the project would be reviewed in the upcoming spending review and warned that the Government should scrap ‘white elephants’ if necessary.
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is one of a group of senior Tory figures seen as potential leadership candidates who oppose the HS2 line
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom (left) and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey (right) have both voiced concerns over the HS2 project
The research was carried out by American political consultant, Frank Luntz, who is also said to be friends with Johnson.
Grassroots party opposition to the multi-billion pound project to connect London to Birmingham and then Leeds and Manchester is mainly focused on the route it is planned to take through swathes of Tory heartlands such as parts of north west London, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
Johnson’s own Uxbridge constituency is one of these areas that will see the controversial line cut through the countryside.
According to the Sunday Telegraph the memo states: ‘Fully two thirds of our group wanted to see it [HS2] scrapped immediately, seeing it as the worst kind of wasteful spending.’
Last month ministers delayed approving HS2 spending over worries about the project’s mounting costs.
Despite the government claiming the budget of £56billion must be kept, many minsters fear costs could spiral to more than £100billion,
Former Brexit Secretary, David Davis has also publicly attacked the £56billion HS2 project
Phase two, connecting Birmingham with Leeds and Manchester, is not due to begin until 2024. Approval for the project was delayed last month over cost fears [File photo]
A formal ‘notice to proceed’ on major construction works for the first phase of the high-speed railway was been put back until December.
The Government-owned firm in charge of the project is now likely to fall short of its aim of starting work on bridges and tunnels later this year.
The order, which would have provided up to £27billion, had been scheduled for June.
However, it is understood HS2 Ltd is struggling to keep costs contained within the overall budget of £56billion.
The delay means the firm cannot sign major contracts for the construction of phase one lines, stretching from London to Birmingham.
Work on phase two, connecting Birmingham with Leeds and Manchester, is not due to begin until 2024.
HS2 Ltd said it was still negotiating with contractors and hoped to receive ‘notice to proceed’ later this year, while the Department for Transport said it was ‘constantly assessing’ how to deliver value for public money.
A formal ‘notice to proceed’ on major construction works for the first phase of the high-speed railway has been put back by six months until December [file photo]