The Granada Debate: Has the government abandoned its promise for a transport revolution?

MPs Scott Benton and Graham Stringer join political correspondent Lise McNally on November's installment of The Granada Debate.

On this episode, the panel discuss the Integrated Rail Plan and terrorism in the North West.

On the panel for November's edition of The Granada Debate:

  • Scott Benton the Conservative MP for Blackpool South

  • Labour's Graham Stringer, who represents Blackley and Broughton.

  • Dr David Lowe, senior research fellow at Leeds Beckett University's Law School researching terrorism and security. 

The Manchester-Leeds HS2 line is set to be scrapped.

Rail betrayal - Has the government abandoned its promise for a transport revolution?

After years of promises, rumours, re-announcements and delays - the government's plan to deliver a transport revolution across the North of England's train network has finally arrived.

For passengers promised they would benefit from both Northern Powerhouse Rail from East to West, and HS2, from North to South - expectations were riding high. 

Instead we are getting an Integrated Rail Plan that comes with a major rewrites

Credit: PA

Parts of HS2 have been abandoned, though the high speed Crewe to Manchester line will be done.

We will get a new high speed line from Warrington to the Western border of Yorkshire 

But gone is the much-looked to "Northern Powerhouse Rail" - that new high speed route between Manchester and Leeds. Instead, there will be upgrades to the existing Transpennine track.

Speaking on Granada Debate, Conservative MP for Blackpool South Scott Benton, said the plans are not a 'betrayal of the North', which was suggested by members of the Labour party.

Scott Benton told Political Correspondent Lise McNally: "This government has a £96billion investment plan in our railways.

"This is the single biggest investment in the North and Midlands infrastructure we have ever seen."

Disagreeing with Scott Benton's views, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton Graham Stringer said it is 'absurd' that it could take two decades for the government to deliver its promises.

He said: "We're paying, in the north of England, for the government to always prioritise the South and wasting lots of money during the epidemic. We are getting something, it's just not what we were promised."

The latest terror attack took place in Liverpool on Remembrance Sunday. Credit: PA

 Is the North West in danger of another terror attack?

Remembrance Sunday saw a moment in Liverpool that could have become an unimaginable disaster.

A bombing outside a maternity hospital, just metres away from where women were giving birth, and medical staff were working to deliver babies safely.

Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, died when the taxi he was a passenger in exploded outside the hospital just before 11am on Remembrance Sunday.

The incident was declared a terrorist attack and the UK terror threat level has since been raised from substantial to severe, meaning another attack is highly likely.

Dr David Lowe is a senior research fellow at Leeds Beckett University's Law School researching terrorism and security.

He said: "Liverpool never really been a target of a terrorist attack, so you have that factor. I think what this shows is in the UK and certainly in the North West, nowhere is safe from an attack."

Dr Lowe believes Counter Terrorism needs greater finances for more staff and equipment, because "there's more pressure on them" after attacks in recent months.

He said: "There's over 3,000 individuals that are classed as high-risk and it's important that they are monitored"

Scott Benton says the Conservative government is spending £900m per year on Counter Terrorism Policing and also increased 'realm of different sentencing for the most serious terror offences'.

Catch up with previous episodes of The Granada Debate here.