Trains for the long-awaited HS2 high speed rail line and Northern Powerhouse Rail should be built in the UK, Ministers have been told.

North East Conservative MP Paul Howell called on the Government to ensure the lucrative contracts went to a UK firm, such as Hitachi in his Sedgefield constituency, in order to safeguard and create British jobs.

He spoke in the House of Commons, where he invited Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson to visit the Hitachi plant in Newton Aycliffe.

Mr Howell told the House of Commons: "Government procurement processes need to better reflect their commitment to local economies as we build back better."

The MP has previously expressed disappointment that the contract to build a new fleet of trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro was awarded to a Swiss firm.

Sedgefield MP Paul Howell

He told ChronicleLive: "When we look at government procurement process, I would like to see us give full and proper consideration to businesses that are based local so that the money we spend has a knock-on impact, into employing local people and potentially growing local supply chains.

"It's not about paying more. Companies would have to be competitive But it's giving full consideration to all the factors of the supply and not a pure price game, which I think we've been too close to in the past."

Ministers have said in the past that whichever firm is selected to build HS2 trains will have to explain how their proposal adds value to the UK economy - but that this will not be play any role in deciding who wins the bid.

Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson said earlier this year: "The procurement of rolling stock for High Speed 2 requires Tenderers to submit a statement (their “Legacy Statement”) which will outline how the Tenderer’s proposal will add value to the UK economy, and how they will contribute to the delivery of the HS2 Programme Benefits.

"The Legacy Statement does not form any part of the evaluation of Tenders. HS2 Ltd will only open the Legacy Statement of the Tenderer selected for Contract Award."

Hitachi has drawn up a joint bid with Bombardier to build HS2 trains. It is one of five bids being considered by HS2 Ltd, the government-owned business overseeing construction of the line, which says an announcement on the winner is due early next year. The contract has an estimated value of £2.75 bn.