Northern Powerhouse Minister says Northern Leaders could have 'acted sooner' on Northern rail

The Northern Powerhouse Minister has told ITV News that the process to strip Northern Rail of its franchise could've been started sooner.

Jake Berry MP said that northern leaders should have pushed harder for action if they were unhappy with the rail operator.

Transport for the North have said, in a statement: "We've made our position very clear - over many months - that the Government must take action regarding the Northern franchise.

"We've done so privately and publicly....Our leaders have been calling for more powers to make decisions about transport investment and operational matters, no matter how difficult, for some time."

The government have said that Northern Rail can only continue for a 'number of months'. Credit: PA

Mr Berry also refused to rule out a cut to the number of trains available for commuters across the region should the company lose its contract under the process started earlier this week.

His comments come days after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the future of the franchise would be made at the end of the month.

Mr Berry has been in the North West speaking about transforming Bury College into a centre of excellence for health and STEM excellence.

Watch his interview with Hannah Miller here: