Minister talks up 'exciting project' of Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge

July 23, 2020

A minister has talked up the idea of a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland, describing it as an "exciting project".

Brandon Lewis told Sky News it was "absolutely right" that the government is looking into its feasibility.

Speaking to Kay Burley @ Breakfast, the Northern Ireland secretary said: "Big infrastructure projects throughout history have sometimes been controversial, difficult, but they've been the right thing to do.

"The M25 wasn't a straightforward thing, but nobody could imagine life around London without it now.

"I think it is the right thing to do and it could be fantastic for connectivity."

Downing Street confirmed in February that work was under way to flesh out the proposal.

"The prime minister is ambitious in terms of infrastructure projects around the UK to boost connectivity," his spokesman told reporters at the time.

"There is a proper piece of work being carried out into the idea.

"It is being done by a range of government officials; as with all work we ask for and it reports in to Number 10."

Mr Johnson, who first touted the idea back in 2018 when he was foreign secretary, has said it would cost "about £15bn".

But critics of the idea have said it would be a waste of money.

They say it is the latest example of the PM's penchant for "vanity projects", which have included pushing for an airport in the Thames Estuary and the failed Garden Bridge in London.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford told Sky News the GB-NI bridge was "bluff and bluster".

"At the end of the day, I think this is a bridge too far for Boris Johnson," he told Kay Burley @ Breakfast.

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It comes as Mr Johnson visits Scotland for the first time since his general election victory in December.

He is expected to claim that the "sheer might of our union" has strengthened the fight against coronavirus north of the border.

But the trip comes as opinion polls suggest a surge in support for Scottish independence, with backing for leaving the union now at 54%.

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