High-speed rail between London and Birmingham might not be achieved in the 2020s because of "endless dither and delay", Lord Adonis, the former Transport Secretary, has warned.
The Labour peer said plans to get HS2 on to the statute books by the end of this parliament could fall victim to wrangling within the Coalition before the next general election in 2015.
The controversial £33bn project was given the go-ahead in January, with a line between London and Birmingham expected to open by 2026. Urging David Cameron to get a grip on the issue, Lord Adonis told the BBC: "If infrastructure projects are going to happen they need someone who is going to drive them forward, and that simply isn't present.
"There has been endless dither and delay. No one is gripping this, no one is driving this forward," he said. "There should have been a Bill for HS2 in the Queen's Speech when apparently we are instead going to be spending month after month debating House of Lords reform."