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
More top news
A Manchester City fan has been cleared of using racist language during the Manchester derby after stewards failed to show up for his trial.
Investigators have released images of two more people they wish to speak to about the Hillsborough tragedy.
Anthony Walker was murdered in a park in Liverpool in 2005. His family have spoken about their loss.