Boris Johnson’s £15 billion dream of building the world’s most ridiculous tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland looks to have been killed off by the Treasury.
Government officials have admitted the grand project mocked by Tory MPs and numerous experts, is dead, at least for now after fraught discussions with Rishi Sunak ahead of the Budget next month.
The Chancellor has warned that he needs to put public finances on a sustainable path in the medium term after coronavirus wreaked havoc.
Former No 10 chief Dominic Cummings seized on the briefing to a newspaper outlet, swiping that Boris Johnson would insist on feasibility studies continuing so that Boris can pretend it will happen.
The premier’s bold hopes for the link to strengthen the union were previously ridiculed with claims it could cost as much as £33 billion and require clearing out a huge munitions dump.
Other calculations put the cost closer to £15 billion, which would still account for a significant chunk of spending as the United Kingdom comes out of the other side of the pandemic.
The UK Government appeared serious about the link, commissioning a union connectively review which would, in part, evaluate its usefulness and cost.
Numerous opportunities for tunnels and bridges have been mooted. A link going from Stranraer in Scotland to Larne would be a comparable length to the Channel tunnel.
A spokeswoman for the UK Government didn’t dismiss that the plans had been shelved but said that boosting connectivity across the United Kingdom and improving transport infrastructure was at the centre of their levelling up agenda, and that was why they’d asked Sir Peter Hendy to lead a Union Connectivity Review to look at prospective transport priorities, based on the wider strategic case for investment and the benefit it would bring to people and businesses across the United Kingdom.
It was said that on the back of his interim report in March, they have committed £20 million to develop plans that can evaluate possibilities on road and rail projects and that they were now looking forward to his final recommendations ahead of the spending review, where they will consider and confirm funding strategies for delivering improved connectivity between all parts of the United Kingdom.
When the crossing emerged as a possibility again in February the Tory chair of the Northern Ireland Select Committee, Simon Hoare ridiculed the plan.
Although it will probably be £15 billion and the rest, and it’s a ridiculous idea, and how someone could be so simple-minded and also be the Prime Minister beats me, and of course, the tax from millions of people will pay for it, while consultants and advisors are raking in millions on assessments and feasibility studies so that Boris Johnson can have his vanity projects – the man is a liability to the future of our country.
And it seems that the world’s stupidest tunnel goes from Boris Johnson’s left ear to his right ear, straight through to his empty head.
This man is a liability – one moment he’s saying he can’t pay the NHS workers more than 1 per cent, but then he justifies spending £15 billion on a tunnel – remind me now, what fools voted for him again?
Perhaps this was his plan when suspending the pension triple lock money so that he could build this damn tunnel, or was it just another ‘Oh look at me’ tactic?
The man is totally out of control with his reckless taxing and money-grabbing, over the top green zealotry, throwing money around on his thick-witted pet projects, and inviting half the world to come and live here.