Business leaders in north of England issue warning to party leadership hopefuls

Tory leadership contenders have been warned that opposing the HS2 line will destroy the party’s prospects in key seats for decades, amid concerns that the project will be targeted in the race to replace Theresa May.

Senior figures inside Whitehall, industry and across local government are worried that leading candidates could back either scrapping or seriously scaling back the £56bn scheme in an attempt to win support from wary Tory MPs and fund campaign pledges.

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Read More Tories told to back HS2 rail link or face decades in opposition

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