Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he has "no doubt" the controversial High Speed 2 rail scheme will benefit the whole country, after claims it could cost some cities hundreds of millions of pounds.
Mr McLouglin said the project was "vital" for the economy's long-term health, adding: "It's of no doubt to me that it's beneficial to the UK. We need to make sure our cities in the north are able to compete with the rest of Europe as well."
More top news
The Spanish football federation has suspended all games past 16 May in a dispute over television rights.
Winds easing tonight with a few showers remaining for Scotland which could linger into tomorrow morning
A woman and her three children held hostage at knifepoint were saved by police after managing to hide a secret SOS message in a pizza order.