Andy Burnham has welcomed the news that Liz Truss would perform a U-turn on railway investment in the North of England if she becomes Prime Minister.

The Greater Manchester mayor described the promise to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) in full as a 'turning point' in the Tory leadership battle.

It comes as Ms Truss backed the scheme which was scaled down last year, saying it would bring better jobs to the region and tackle the productivity gap.

The move would mean tens of billions of pounds of new investment in transport infrastructure and high speed connections running on new trains lines across the North, from Liverpool to Leeds via Manchester and Bradford.

It would be a reversal of the current government’s proposal, unveiled last November, which saw the budget for NPR slashed by £24.9bn, with the original vision for a new line replaced with upgrades to existing routes.

The commitment comes after Northern newspapers called on Ms Truss and her leadership rival Rishi Sunak to keep their party’s promises to the North.

In a joint letter published last night, Northern metro mayors, including Mr Burnham, said building NPR in full was "critical to unlocking the full potential of the Northern economy in the 21st century and levelling us up with the South".

Speaking on BBC Radio Manchester this morning, Thursday, Mr Burnham said he was not convinced by either of the Conservative leadership candidates.

However, he welcomed the news that Ms Truss said she supports NPR in full.

He said: “The thing that we need most in the North of England is proper rail connectivity.

“We’ve said to the two candidates today, sit down with us and get this plan together to level up the North of England, particularly with a new railway line.

“And I hear from what’s reported, that Liz Truss is prepared to do a U-turn.

“That would be a bit of a turning point in this leadership election if that is true.”

Mr Burnham told listeners that the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, which he was a member of, did not do enough for the North.

The Greater Manchester mayor said he would work with any political party that prioritises the region for public investment over the next 10 or 20 years.

But he warned of the dangers of governing like Margaret Thatcher which he claimed both Conservative leadership candidates have said they would do.

He said: “That is not levelling up.

“If you are going to do that, you must call a general election.

“Because if you try to govern on that basis on a mandate given to you by the North of England for something completely different, you’re going to remove the last vestige of trust that we have in this country in politics.”