UK News Boris Johnson buries dream of tunnel across Irish Sea
Treasury 'kills off' PM's £15bn dream of link between Scotland and NI
Government officials have admitted the ambitious project - ridiculed by Tory MPs and many experts - is 'dead, at least for now' after fraught negotiations with Rishi Sunak ahead of the Budget next month. The Chancellor has warned that he wants to 'put the public finances on a sustainable path in the medium term' after coronavirus wreaked havoc.Former No10 chief Dominic Cummings seized on the briefing to the Financial Times, swiping that Mr Johnson would insist on feasibility studies continuing so Mr Johnson can 'pretend it will happen'.
Plans for a tunnel tohave been shelved by after Chancellor ruled it was too expensive.
The Prime Minister has spoken repeatedly of his dream of a bridge or tunnel linking the province to the rest of the UK.
But speaking to reporters while in the United States, he said it would not be included in forthcoming plans to improve Britain's creaking infrastructure.
'Although it remains an ambition it is perhaps not the most immediate [priority]. It will be delivered substantially after the rest of the programme,' he said.
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The move reflects Treasury concern that the £20billion project would prove to be a white elephant. The PM also refused to say whether the Eastern leg of the HS2 rail project would go ahead.
The Mail reported in July that the plan to link Birmingham with Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds is set to be shelved indefinitely.
The Treasury is eyeing potential savings of up to £40billion. But it is a blow to the PM's vision of a network of infrastructure projects that would bind the UK closer together.
Boris Johnson slammed by US politicians over amnesty plan for Troubles
36 members of the US Congress have written to Boris Johnson urging him to scrap plans for amnesty proposals that would stop future prosecutions that relate to the Northern Ireland Troubles. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the US congress members also called for the British Government to reaffirm its commitment to the Stormont House Agreement.In the letter to Mr Johnson, the members expressed concern that the proposed legacy laws would strain the British-Irish relationship and 'cement widespread feelings' that justice is being denied.
Mr Johnson first proposed a bridge to Northern Ireland three years ago, but it was dismissed by many experts who warned that building the 20-mile link from Scotland would be a huge logistical challenge.
After leaving No 10, the PM's former chief aide Dominic Cummings said Mr Johnson was obsessed with the idea of building 'the world's most stupid tunnel'.
The initial idea of a bridge was abandoned because of concerns that strong winds in the Irish Sea would require frequent closures.
In places the route would have crossed water more than 1,000ft deep, requiring the largest support towers ever built. But officials continued to examine the case for a tunnel link.
The project was being considered by a transport connectivity review led by Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy. Two engineering professors were also commissioned to lead a feasibility study into a bridge or tunnel.
The High-Speed Rail Group of rail leaders proposed tunnelling under the Irish Sea between Stranraer and Larne in a submission to the Hendy review.
Mr Johnson insisted the upcoming infrastructure review would be 'wonderful news' for all UK areas.
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