A ROW broke out yesterday over the HS2 high-speed rail link project following claims that its costs are “out of control” and that MPs were misled about them.

The allegations were made by Lord Tony Berkeley, the former Labour transport minister. Berkeley was vice-chair of the review panel led by Doug Oakervee, the former HS2 Ltd chair who was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lead the review into “whether and how we should proceed.”

It is understood that Oakervee is shortly to publish his review and recommend that the project should be completed.

The total cost of the project was put at £55 billion in a report to the House of Commons which approved the first phase, but HS2 Ltd itself now estimates the cost to be £88bn while Berkeley says it will be over £107bn.

He added that this new figure provided by independent analysts is evidence that costs are now “out of control.”

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Scottish taxpayers will have to stump up for their share of the costs despite the high-speed line currently being planned to end at Crewe with Glasgow and Edinburgh being connected by existing tracks on which trains will run at lower speeds.

In a 70-page dissenting report, Berkeley states: “I believe that Parliament has been seriously misled by the failure of HS2 Ltd and by ministers to report objectively and fairly on costs and programme changes.”

He said the review panel, which was wound up in October, had “a bias towards accepting HS2’s evidence in preference to those of others, leading to what I considered to be a critical but supportive recommendation for HS2 Ltd to continue. I do not believe that the evidence that the review received supports this view.”

Lord Berkeley also says phase one is unlikely to open before 2031, five years later than the original date of opening, which was planned for 2026. He also does not believe that phase two to Manchester and Leeds is likely to be completed before 2040. He adds that only parts of the line should be built in the north of England for the Northern Powerhouse rail scheme.

Berkeley has come under fire from the project’s supporters. Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and campaign partner of Connecting Britain, said: “We need HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail delivered together, in full.

“We don’t much appreciate being told by a peer, who divides his time between London and Cornwall, what the North wants.”

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Penny Gaines, chair of the Stop HS2 group said: “The case for HS2 has always been poor, and is simply getting worse.

“It is time for this white elephant of a project to be cancelled as quickly as possible.”

Tory MPs in England are split on the issue, with former minister David Davis saying the report “reinforces the view that HS2 been economically unviable for some time”.

An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said: “There have been many individual views expressed about the HS2 project. However, we await the publication of the government’s official review.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The government commissioned the Oakervee review to provide advice on how and whether to proceed with HS2, with an independent panel representing a range of viewpoints.

“Lord Berkeley’s report represents his personal view.”