ANNE Marie Morris grilled Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister’s Questions today, pressing him to commit to the funding of the South West Resilience Programme.

Question marks around the project emerged after funding was predicted to fall short for the final phases of the project. Morris told the Prime Minister that 'the line is only as resilient as its weakest link,' while Sunak argued that he was 'committed to improving the resilience of this iconic stretch of railway.'

The programme, starting under David Cameron, seeks to protect the railway line between Teignmouth and Dawlish. The railway is a vital artery, which connects communities, businesses and visitors in 50 towns and cities in the South West with the rest of the UK.

Since the damage caused by heavy storms which resulted in an eight-week closure of the railway in 2014, plans to develop and improve the resilience of the railway between Exeter and Newton Abbot have been underway.

The project is split into five phases, to protect against the damage seen in 2014 from happening again. However, as the project has gone on, questions have been raised concerning how the project can stay afloat with its current rates of funding.

Anne Marie Morris, MP for Newton Abbot put this to the Prime Minister, saying: ’At PM Question Time on the 4 February 2015, David Cameron said was determined to do whatever it took to fix the Dawlish Railway Line, the only route to the South West.

‘Phase four risks losing part of its agreed funding while phase five falls foul of a 10-year moratorium on new funding, the line is only as resilient as its weakest link. Will the PM commit to getting this resilience programme back on track and fully funded?’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded:

‘We’re committed to improving the resilience of this iconic stretch of railway, it provides a vital link for people in the SW.

‘That’s why today, we have invested over £165 million in delivering solutions to protect the line and I know that Network Rail is continuing to develop the case for further investment and I know my honourable friend will be keen to feed into that.