'Stupid' tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland scrapped due to UK Government spending crackdown
A tunnel, reportedly described as the “world’s most stupid tunnel” by a government official, has been scrapped.
The Prime Minister’s pledge to build a tunnel between Scotland and Northern Ireland is off the table after the UK Government self impose spending limits.
The Financial Times has reported that the plan has been described as “dead” by government officials.
These officials have been briefed on the spending negotiations prior to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s October budget.
The plans were derided in Scotland, with Transport Secretary Michael Matheson saying it could cost as much as £33 billion.
Other estimates put the cost closer to £15 billion, which would still account for a major chunk of spending as the UK comes out of the other side of the pandemic.
The tunnel, which was been dubbed ‘Boris Burrow’, would have run from Stranraer to Larne in Northern Ireland.
It would have been modelled on the Channel tunnel, which is 31.5 miles long and runs underwater for 23.5 miles.
The undersea tunnel was believed to have the private backing of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who first proposed a fixed link across the Irish Sea in 2018, along with Scottish secretary Alister Jack.
Nicola Sturgeon dismissed the idea, urging the Chancellor to instead send the funding to the devolved administrations to help deal with domestic issues.
In March last year, Ms Sturgeon said: “If you’ve got £20 billion available to build a bridge, I’m pretty sure me and I’m sure equally the First Minister of Northern Ireland would be able to find things to spend that on right now that actually would be really useful to accelerate the progress to net-zero.”
The plans were described as “stupid” by former aid Dominic Cummings, who said back in July: “First of all he [Boris Johnson] was, he was fed up with the media portrayal of him being a kind of puppet for the Vote Leave team, it was driving him round the bend.
“I had a plan, I was trying to get things done.
"He didn’t have a plan … he didn’t have an agenda.
"You know, the Prime Minister’s only agenda is buy more trains, buy more buses, have more bikes and build the world’s most stupid tunnel to Ireland, that’s it.”