Tory grandee Lord Heseltine - a former Minister for Merseyside - has declared his support for the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project.
The one time Deputy Prime Minister says the scheme's timetable should be accelerated and that the private sector should contribute to the cost.
He says: "HS2 is about our country's competitiveness for a half century or more.
"It is about so many more people sharing growth that has, for too long, been concentrated on London and the South East.
The first phase of HS2 is due for completion in 2026, with the second phase, taking the line to north east and north west England, due to be completed by 2032/33
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The former chancellor said a line connecting the east and west coasts must be planned for as the Government presses ahead with HS2.
Showery rain to start Wednesday, but an improving story. Freshening up for the rest of the week with a mix of sunshine & showers