West Norfolk MPs Liz Truss and James Wild speak on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ‘three huge decisions to change our country’
West Norfolk’s MPs have praised plans to upgrade a “bottleneck” railway line that will result in more train services coming to our area.
However, proposals to phase out legal smoking have proven less popular following a landmark speech by Rishi Sunak at the annual Conservative Party conference.
The Prime Minister announced “three huge decisions to change our country” earlier this week. They include banning the sale of cigarettes and scrapping A-Levels.
He also pulled the plug on the Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2, a zero carbon, high-speed railway line. By doing so, he hopes to use the £36billion in savings to fund other transport projects across the country and wage a war on potholes.
Among those projects is an upgrade of the Ely North railway junction, which looks set to be re-modelled. Five rail lines currently converge at the station, with many describing it as a “bottleneck”.
The scheme will see the equivalent of 450 lorries removed from East Anglia’s roads every day, while passenger services will double on the Ely to Lynn service.
North West Norfolk MP James Wild said: “The Prime Minister has taken tough decisions on HS2 and by doing so is backing transport projects across the country.
“I’m delighted as a result of this announcement the Government has committed to upgrade Ely Junction which I have campaigned for.
“This important scheme will unlock more passenger services to Lynn and extra freight trains across the region delivering significant economic benefits.”
Liz Truss, the South West Norfolk MP, said: “I welcome the news on the Ely North Junction which needs to be upgraded to deliver a half-hourly train service to Downham and Lynn.
“I have long campaigned for this and look forward to hearing about the delivery timetable.”
However, Ms Truss – who edged out Mr Sunak in a battle to be named Prime Minister last year before being replaced by him just weeks later – has signalled that she would vote against his plans to ban smoking.
This would be achieved by raising the legal age to buy cigarettes year by year – meaning that a child currently aged 14 would never be allowed to smoke by law.
This would come into effect from 2027. Mr Sunak argued at the Tory conference that there is “no safe level of smoking”.
Meanwhile, he is aiming to replace A-Levels and T-Levels with what he has coined the ‘Advanced British Standard’. Students would typically study five subjects in their final school years rather than three.
However, this is expected to take around a decade to implement – but when the changes come, youngsters will have to study both Maths and English until they are 18.
At the Tory conference, the Prime Minister said: “We will be bold. We will be radical. We will face resistance and we will meet it.
“We will give the country what it so sorely needs, and yet too often has been denied – a Government prepared to make long-term decisions so that we can build a brighter future for everyone. Be in no doubt: ‘It is time for a change.”
The Lynn News asked Mr Wild about the smoking ban and A-Level changes, but he did not provide comments on those.
Ms Truss, who spoke extensively at the Tory conference, only released an official statement on the Ely Junction plans.