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PM abandons plan to cross Northern Ireland to Scotland

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Whether it is a bridge or a tunnel that would have linked Northern Ireland and Scotland, one thing is now clear: Boris Johnson has abandoned his plan to move forward anytime soon .

The Prime Minister, a lover of large infrastructure projects, strongly downplayed the prospects of seeing the concept take off one day, reducing it to a simple “ambition”.

Mr Johnson has faced some derision after it emerged in March that the feasibility of the project – which could cost £ 20bn – was being assessed.

Earlier this month, it emerged he faced significant opposition from Chancellor Rishi Sunak as they negotiated spending ahead of his budget next month.

Speaking to reporters as he traveled by Amtrak train between Washington and New York, Mr Johnson hinted that the HS2 rail network would continue to operate.

He adds: “What I might say about the tunnel / bridge is maybe that while this remains an ambition, it is not the most immediate.

“It will be delivered substantially after the rest of the program you just described.”

Dominic Cummings, the former hostile adviser to the Prime Minister, once called it “the dumbest tunnel in the world”.

Experts have warned that the depth of the Irish Sea and the presence of ammunition dumped into the Beaufort dyke would pose problems.

The distance from Larne to Portpatrick, one of the most likely routes for a bridge, is approximately 28 miles.

In November 2018, Mr Johnson said: “The problem is not the Beaufort submarine sea wall or the lack of funds. The problem is the lack of political will.

Some experts put the cost at £ 20bn, but Mr Johnson has previously estimated it ‘would only cost around £ 15bn’.

Dropping the project so soon could end up saving a significant amount of money for taxpayers.

The controversial Garden Bridge over the River Thames which Mr Johnson supported as the Mayor of London was scrapped after receiving £ 43million in public investment.

The Financial Times reported earlier this month that government officials briefed on spending negotiations it called the Irish Sea project “dead” as it tried to contain spending.


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