John has urged the Government to clarify its plans for rail in the north, after reports the HS2 leg running through South Yorkshire has been halted.

Mr Healey met the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson in April, along with Nick Bisson, director of HS2 Phase Two and Ed Miliband MP.

At the meeting, he urged the Ministers to rethink the new HS2 route and invest in regional rail improvements.

Now, HS2’s chief executive has said work on the eastern leg – from Birmingham to Leeds – had halted and they were waiting for advice from the Government.

The Government’s delayed Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) is expected to set out how HS2 will fit in with Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

Writing to Mr Shapps, John said: “South Yorkshire communities are already grappling with HS2 blight and uncertainty. It is vital the IRP is published as soon as possible, and the Government makes clear its plans for improving rail connectivity in the north and its commitment to funding.

“It is disappointing to read about the ‘halt’ to HS2 phase 2b in the media, instead of Ministers coming to Parliament before now to level with the public about the Government’s plans for their communities.”

The MP added: “The M18 route will have a heavy impact on local constituents, who face years of disruption for no share in the promised benefits. It would leave us in the worst of all worlds, with the mainline HS2 running right through South Yorkshire without stopping.

“There should be new, post-covid remodelling of the business case and passenger demand for high speed rail, and any further consideration must be an open process drawing on local expertise and the views of South Yorkshire councils and community groups.”