Boris Johnson presses ahead with 'very good' idea for £15 billion Irish bridge

PUBLISHED: 16:38 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:59 12 September 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in an activity with school children as he visits the NLV Pharos, a lighthouse tender moored on the river Thames to mark London International Shipping Week. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in an activity with school children as he visits the NLV Pharos, a lighthouse tender moored on the river Thames to mark London International Shipping Week. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Boris Johnson has said a £15 billion bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland would be a 'very good' idea.

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The prime minister revealed his thoughts on the ambitious proposal as he spoke to schoolchildren onboard lighthouse tender NLV Pharos on the Thames.

Johnson told the children that he had recently been discussing the possibility of constructing a bridge over the Irish Sea.

He said: "(I was talking yesterday) about building a bridge from Stranraer in Scotland to Larne in Northern Ireland - that would be very good.

"It would only cost about £15 billion."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in an activity with school children as he visits the NLV Pharos, a lighthouse tender moored on the river Thames to mark London International Shipping Week. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA WirePrime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in an activity with school children as he visits the NLV Pharos, a lighthouse tender moored on the river Thames to mark London International Shipping Week. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

It follows reports that the prime minister has asked government officials for advice on the costs and risks of such a project.

One year ago James Duncan from Edinburgh, a retired offshore engineer, wrote to The Sunday Times letters page to point out the problems with building a bridge between the two islands.

Duncan says that "no sane contractor or responsible government" would sanction the construction because of the complexity involved.

In a damning indictment of Johnson, he calls it a "thoughtless soundbite" that is "typical of Johnson".

Prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire.Prime minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire.

He signs off by claiming that "he simply does not have the seriousness to lead the country."

The DUP, who prop up the prime minister's minority government, support proposals for a bridge which they hope could bring economic benefits to both Northern Ireland and Scotland, but it has also been touted as a potential solution to the controversial backstop.

Johnson first mooted the idea while serving as foreign secretary, telling the Sunday Times last year: "What we need to do is build a bridge between our islands. Why don't we? Why don't we?

"There is so much more we can do, and what grieves me about the current approach to Brexit is that we are just in danger of not believing in ourselves, not believing in Britain."

Johnson last year reportedly suggested also building a bridge across the English Channel to connect the UK and France.

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