Some political ideas just refuse to die, don’t they?
A perfect example of this is the bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland that Boris Johnson simply won’t shut up about. First proposed as a joke in the form of a viral tweet by The Independent’s Europe correspondent Jon Stone, the idea of a bridge has somehow become the desired government policy.
Documents seen by Channel 4 News reveal that the Treasury and Department for Transport have been asked for advice on possible costs and risks of building a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
According to the documents, the prime minister wants to know “where this money could come from” and “the risks around the project” – which appear to include “WW2 munitions in the Irish Sea”. Yeesh!
But, responding to a request for comment by Channel 4 news, a government spokesperson played down the idea.
Government regularly commissions work to examine the feasibility of projects.
During the leadership campaign candidates spoke about a number of issues which resulted in Number 10 commissions ahead of a new Prime Minister taking over.
This PM has made no secret of his support for infrastructure projects that increase connectivity for people and particularly those that strengthen the Union.
This is not the first bridge proposed by Johnson.
As London Mayor, he supported plans to build a “Garden Bridge” across the River Thames. The plan was much criticised and fizzled away due to budget constraints – but not before wasting £43m of taxpayer money on planning.
In 2018, Johnson hinted at the idea of another ambitious bridge when he was Foreign Secretary. This time the bridge would connect the UK and France. Again, the plans failed.
On Twitter, people reacted with a collective eye-roll at the idea.