The Prime Minister has indicated his plan to build a £15billion tunnel connecting Ulster with Scotland will be delayed until after the construction of HS2. The news comes following rumours Boris Johnson has come under increasing pressure over his expensive infrastructure programme.
It had recently been reported the Treasury planned to axe the proposals to build the tunnel.
Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s former special advisor and architect of the Vote Leave campaign, was said to have been a critic of both HS2 and the Boris burrow – which he described as “the world’s most stupid tunnel”.
Speaking to reporters during his visit to the US, Mr Johnson said: “You’ll have to wait until the spending review and the integrated rail plan, which is also coming out.
“But it will be wonderful for all parts of the North, the North East, North West, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby, everywhere, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester – we have wonderful plans.
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“What I would say perhaps about the tunnel/bridge is perhaps although it remains an ambition, it’s not the most immediate.
“It will be delivered substantially after the rest of the programme that you have just described.”
HS2 was expected to cost £32.6billion when the broad route of the scheme was first proposed.
However, over the years, the expected cost of the project has spiralled out of control to a staggering £107billion.
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The first phase of the network, which will connect London to Birmingham, is set to open at the end of 2026.
The second phase connecting Leeds and Manchester is reported to be completed by 2034.
To be able to oversee the construction of the tunnel Boris Johnson would have to break modern political records to serve as Prime Minister for 15 consecutive years.
Only two UK Prime Ministers, Sir Robert Walpole and William Pitt the Younger, have spent more than 15-years as First Lord of the Treasury.
Boris Johnson first expressed ambitions to build a tunnel between Larne and Portpatrick in November 2018, when he said: “The problem is not the undersea Beaufort’s Dyke or lack of funds.
“The problem is an absence of political will.”
The DUP has previously suggested the construction of a Boris bridge could help the Prime Minister “win back the trust” the pro-UK party.
In more recent times tensions between the Unionist party and the Prime Minister have grown over the application of the Northern Ireland Protocol in Ulster.