THE prime minister has been urged by Eastleigh’s MP to back the town’s bid to be the home of Great British Railways.

Eastleigh and Southampton both have ambitions to be the base for the new public body, which is due to manage the UK’s rail infrastructure from next year.

During prime minister's questions, which was dominated by Boris Johnson's attendance at a party during lockdown at 10 Downing Street, Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes intervened to ask about Great British Railways.

He said: “The prime minister will be aware that Eastleigh was formed as a railway town. From producing locomotives and carriages to building gliders for the D-Day landings, Eastleigh has a proud railway heritage.

“Given this pedigree, the excellent transport links and the need to level up the south, does he agree with me that Eastleigh would make a perfect home for the new headquarters for Great British Railways?”

Mr Johnson replied: “My honourable friend is a great champion for Eastleigh and as I told the House earlier, further details of the competition to identify the new Great British Railways headquarters will be announced in the coming weeks.”

The government has said it intends to set up the headquarters of Great British Railways in a railway town outside London. The move is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the chosen town.

Mr Holmes has previously told Southampton to “stick to the maritime” after its council leader, Cllr Daniel Fitzhenry, launched a bid to host the new HQ.

Other places to have put their names forward include Crewe, York, and Doncaster.