THE SNP’s Westminster leader has slammed the UK Government’s HS2 announcement, calling instead for prioritised investment in Scotland’s rail links to the south.

It was announced yesterday that the government would be pressing ahead with plans to build the controversial high-speed railway between London and Birmingham.

The project has received criticism due to apparent mismanagement and rising costs, as well as the ousting of people from homes located on the planned route.

Boris Johnson’s chief special adviser Dominic Cummings had previously branded HS2 a “disaster zone” and an “error”.

In response to the decision, MP Ian Blackford said: "If the Prime Minister is truly committed to rail connectivity across these islands, he should engage with the Scottish Government to improve rail links from Scotland to the major cities in the North of England such as Manchester, Newcastle and beyond.

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“With the UK government seeking a review of the second phase to build the line in the north of England, Scotland must not be left last in line.

“Building the line from the south up simply does not address connectivity, and if the UK government want to make real progress and real improvements work should also start to improve the connections from Scotland to the north of England and onto London.

“However, the announcement also raises some serious questions about the Tory government’s sheer mismanagement of the project, the spiralling costs attached to it, and the endless delays. 

"And no number of Prime Ministerial vanity projects will ever heal the economic damage and the damage to connectivity which this Tory Brexit will inflict.

“The Prime Minister should provide the estimated £20 billion for this project to the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive so that they can spend these monies on their own priorities."