Lancashire MP announced as minister for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail

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Andrew Stephenson has been appointed as minister for high-speed rail project HS2.

Andrew Stephenson has been appointed as minister for high-speed rail project HS2.

The MP for Pendle became a transport minister in last week's Government reshuffle by Boris Johnson.

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He confirmed on Wednesday that he has been given responsibility for overseeing HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Andrew Stephenson MPAndrew Stephenson MP
Andrew Stephenson MP

Mr Stephenson said it is "essential we keep a firm grip on these vital projects".

He added that he will work with HS2 Ltd and partners across the Midlands and the North to "deliver vital connections, spread prosperity and level up this country".

Mr Stephenson previously served as a Foreign Office minister and as a Government Whip, having first been elected as an MP in 2010.

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Henri Murison, director of Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which represents businesses and civic leaders, said: "It is fitting that a Northern MP has been chosen to take on this vital role looking at how the two major projects can integrate fully for the maximum benefit of the North.

"The High Speed North project is a major opportunity to fundamentally rebalance the UK economy, creating a North as prosperous as the South, and our business and civic leaders are eager to engage with Government on how this project can create business growth and skilled jobs for young people across the North and the whole of the UK."

The Government gave the green light for HS2 earlier this month despite it running tens of billions of pound over budget and several years behind schedule.

Northern Powerhouse Rail is a scheme to develop high-speed rail links across the Pennines.