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MPs quiz Cameron on regional daily’s rail campaign

Cameron MENMPs have quizzed David Cameron on whether he will back a regional daily’s campaign to get a major rail electrification programme back on track.

The Prime Minister, pictured left, was taken to task by two MPs on the Manchester Evening News’s drive to get Chancellor George Osborne to make a firm commitment that the electrification of the railway line between its patch and Leeds will be completed as planned.

At yesterday’s Prime Minster’s Questions in Parliament, held prior to Mr Osborne’s Budget speech, Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds told the PM a decision to “indefinitely pause” the works meant his constituents faced years of “delayed trains, cramped journeys and less frequent services”.

Mr Cameron responded that he took issue with the phrase “indefinitely pause”.

Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith then asked: “Will the Prime Minister join me in welcoming the MEN campaign to get the electrification of the Transpennine line back on track?”

Mr Cameron replied: “As I said, this is a pause not a stop. We are absolutely committed to making sure this goes ahead and we also want to get rid of the Pacer trains that were there all those years under Labour.”

The MEN’s campaign is known as ‘Stop the #NorthernPowercut’ – a reference to the government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ initiative.

It was launched on Friday, just two weeks after editor Rob Irvine told the Society of Editors regional seminar that Mr Osborne was “no friend of Manchester in (his) experience”, during a debate on devolution.