Regional UK mayor Street says he won’t resign over cuts to HS2 railway

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s West Midlands Mayor Andy Street will not resign from the governing Conservative Party over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to cancel the planned HS2 high-speed railway linking Birmingham to Manchester.

In the run-up to Sunak’s official announcement, Street had been highly critical of reports the northern leg of the HS2 railway would be canceled.

Any move by Street to resign would have been embarrassing for Sunak, who announced the changes to HS2 during a major policy speech at the Conservatives’ annual conference in Manchester.

Birmingham, part of the West Midlands region of England, will benefit from faster connections to London under what is left of HS2, but will lose its long-promised, fast connection to the city of Manchester in the northwest.

“Obviously I’m very disappointed that he announced that today. As you know, I fought for it to be maintained,” Street told the BBC.

“I did consider whether I should continue as a member of the Conservative Party and I’ve decided that I will continue for a very clear reason: I have always been a Conservative – for 42 years – and one issue does not define your membership of the party.”

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Sachin Ravikumar)