The two Conservative leaders are believed to be questioned about the railroad plans during the hustings
The Hustings event, taking place in Leeds tonight (Thursday 28 July), is the first of 12 events to take place during the leadership battle.
Sunak and Truss are expected to be questioned further about their thoughts on the matter Northern Power House Rail after Truss confirmed that she would deliver the plans in full while Sunak did not promise to bring her back after she was scrapped Boris Johnson.
But what exactly is the Northern Powerhouse Rail, what have both Sunak and Truss said about it, and what are hustings and when will all events take place?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Northern Powerhouse Rail?
Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), sometimes unofficially referred to as High Speed 3, is a proposed major railway scheme designed to increase the economic potential of the North of England.
It was designed to improve rail links between Liverpool and Leeds.
In November, the government sparked a backlash from northern leaders when it revealed a new line would only be built on one section, while the rest of the route would receive improvements to existing lines.
The Government decided rather than go ahead with the plans to build a 40 mile line between Warrington and Marsden and complete the improvement of the Transpennine route.
The Integrated Rail Plan said the original plan would cost £18 billion more but cut Manchester to Leeds journeys by just four minutes.
What did Rishi Sunak say about Northern Powerhouse Rail?
The former Chancellor has not promised to bring the plan back, but is widely believed to have backed plans for a flagship transport project to be scaled back over the past year.
However, Sunak said he agreed with the findings of a recent Transport Committee report which said the government should reconsider its plan for Northern Powerhouse Rail as full implementation of the project “could represent the best potential value”.
He said he would “commit to working with local leaders in the North on the deployment of NPR” and “find out the reason for deploying a new station in Bradford”.
He added: “I’d like to advance the options to bring HS2 to Leeds by two trains as soon as possible and I’ve already committed funding (£100m) to explore this further.”
What did Liz Truss say about Northern Powerhouse Rail?
The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs has said she is “fully committed to the construction of NPR” and that she wants “really fantastic rail services” in the North.
The candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party was speaking to reporters in Leeds, West Yorkshire, as she announced she would tear up the government’s scaled back plans if she became our next Prime Minister.
She added that she knows “how bad traffic is in the city.”
Truss has agreed to return to the original plans for the network, which would see operations on new high-speed routes from Liverpool to Leeds via Manchester and Bradford.
She said the project was “absolutely crucial to the future of northern England” but made no commitment to going back to the old plans for HS2.
What have the leaders of the north said about Northern Powerhouse Rail?
Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a network of business and community leaders, said: “The outgoing Prime Minister broke his promises to the North when he published the integrated railway plan.
“This would bring back government support for Northern Powerhouse’s original vision of a single commute area across the Pennines and increase productivity to ensure growth for UK plc.
“Whoever becomes the next Prime Minister should build the new line from Manchester connecting the airport to Bradford, with connections to Leeds.”
What are coughs?
Hustings are set to take place across the country throughout the summer to help party members choose their new Conservative leader.
Hustings are organized by the Conservative Party of UK Tory members, who will then put questions to the candidates during the events.
When do the coughs take place?
The pair will attend 12 hustings organized by the party of UK Tory members and will pose questions to the candidate during the husting.
The dates and venues are:
- 28 July: Leeds
- August 1: Exeter
- August 3: Cardiff
- August 5: Eastbourne
- August 9: Darlington
- August 11: Cheltenham
- August 16: Perth
- August 17: Northern Ireland
- August 19: Manchester
- August 23: Birmingham
- August 25 Norwich
- August 31: London
All Hustings events are streamed online.