DURING his tenure as Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling attracted many column inches debating his perceived lack of competence.

Today though, it will emerge that, far from being way out of his depth, he was actually months ahead of his own party on matters of national infrastructure.

Back in May, Mr Grayling was at Gilling West near Richmond to formally launch Highways England’s eight-week public consultation into options for the £1bn project completing the dualling of the A66 across the Pennines.Describing the project as “long overdue”, Mr Grayling told The Northern Echo: “We are investing a record £13bn to improve journeys across the North of England. I consider (dualling) it to be a priority. Campaigners have wanted improvements for many years but we are getting on with it now.”

Since then more than 2,000 people have attended consultation events to give their views on the scheme, which will see the remaining 18 miles of single carriageway upgraded.

Today though, it looks as though the scheme will be announced all over again, with previews of a speech by Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid revealing billions of pounds of infrastructure funding – including dualling the A66.

The project has been so long in coming that it is perhaps good news that the government is making a further public commitment to it. But if ministers are seeking to curry political favour by making it look as though this is a new scheme, it is obvious that is not the case.