BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire has been praised for holding a Tory MP to account after it was announced that HS2 plans have been scaled back.

The presenter was praised for her line of questioning after she started the interview by asking MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge Miriam Cates: “Why are you betraying the North?” putting her on the back foot.

And it just went downhill from there. Cates replied: “We’re not betraying the North.

“I think that if you tell people they’re being betrayed and they’re being left behind and that promises are being broken and they’re not getting what they expected then it’s not surprising when they read those headlines and are fed that narrative that they’re upset.”

Derbyshire interrupted and said: “It’s not a narrative, it is a fact that the prime minister has promised certain things in terms of the rail infrastructure for the north of England, and it is a fact that he is now scrapping them.”

Cates said she didn’t know the full details of the plan but said it was the “biggest transport investment programme in a century” and also churned out some lines about “levelling up”.

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

But Derbyshire said it was important to have a prime minister “keeping his promises”.

After Cates said “our promise is to level up,” Derbyshire said: “Let’s be accurate here. The promise was to build a high speed rail line between Nottingham and Leeds, that’s now not happening. The promise was – and I can give you the prime minister’s own words if you like – the promise was to build a fast train line from Leeds to Bradford to Manchester.”

It comes after it was announced that the government has scrapped the Leeds leg of the HS2 high-speed rail line. The prime minister said the overhaul would mean faster travel up to 10 years earlier than planned, and said claims of broken promises from the likes of opposition leader Keir Starmer are “total rubbish”.

Forgetting who was interviewing who, Cates asked:“Do you think that HS2 Eastern leg is the best option for my constituents?”

Derbyshire responded: “It doesn’t matter what I think. I’m talking about your prime minister’s promises which he seems to keep on breaking.”

She continued: “I’m going to give you his exact words, if I may.

“’I want to be the prime minister who does with Northern Powerhouse Rail... what we did for Crossrail in London and today I’m going to deliver on that commitment to that vision with a pledge to fund the Leeds to Manchester route.’”

Slam dunk.

Reacting to clips of the interview posted on social media, people thought Derbyshire had been pretty meticulous:

We doubt Cates will look forward to her next stint on the broadcast rounds after that.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)