Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declining to commit to building HS2 to the North today has triggered ridicule on social media.

The Have I Got News For You account published a tongue in cheek post on X, formerly Twitter, from children’s show Thomas the Tank Engine.

In a nod to the now meme-famous episode Come Out, Henry, a train is pictured refusing to come out of a tunnel alongside the caption ‘live scenes from the HS2 just north of Watford’.

The post at around 12pm has already been viewed by hundreds of thousands and retweeted over 2,000 times, with many jumping aboard the scorn train.

The Prime Minister hit out at the “speculation” surrounding its future but did nothing to quell fears he is preparing to either scrap or delay the leg of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester.

Downing Street said there is precedent to delaying aspects of the high-speed rail scheme because of “affordability pressures”, pointing towards high inflation.

Grant Shapps, recently promoted to Defence Secretary from his transport role, has said it would be “crazy” not to reconsider the project in considering spiralling costs.

But Tory former chancellor George Osborne and ex-Conservative deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine were among senior figures warning that axing the Manchester route would be a “gross act of vandalism” which would mean “abandoning” the North and Midlands.