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Thu, 9 April 2020

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Boris Johnson backs tunnel under Irish Sea, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack reveals

Boris Johnson backs tunnel under Irish Sea, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack reveals
2 min read

Boris Johnson supports a plan to build a tunnel under the Irish Sea rather than a bridge linking Northern Ireland with the UK mainland, it has emerged.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the Prime Minister had thrown his weight behind the ambitious plan while giving evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee.

He said a tunnel would solve the main problems associated with a bridge, including high winds and Second World War munitions dumped in Beaufort's Dyke.

The Government has previously confirmed that Whitehall officials were examining the feasibility of a so-called "Boris bridge" between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

But Mr Jack said: "It would be less expensive to tunnel it. It’s no different to the tunnels connecting the Faroe Islands, it’s no different to the tunnels going under the fjords and it deals with the problem of Beaufort’s Dyke and the World War Two munitions.

"The bridge for me is a euphemism for a link, which is a tunnel."

He added: "Once we get better sight of the costs involved, should the prime minister decide to press the button, we would then want to engage with both [the Northern Ireland assembly and the Scottish parliament] to get a better understanding of the benefits and the challenges.

"We’re not going to just come riding roughshod and slam a tunnel in – and by the way, under the settlement of devolution, nor can we."

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “The Prime Minister is passionate about improving connectivity all across the UK and work is being carried out to look at this project."

But Ross Greer, a Green Party MSP, said: "These proposals might be headline grabbing but let’s face it, they are pure fantasy, just like the Tory approach to Brexit which Mr Jack so spectacularly failed to explain to the committee."

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