The PM wanted to create a Brexit link across the Irish Sea but experts had warned it was unviable and eye-wateringly expensive
Boris Johnson has finally admitted defeat in his bid for a tunnel or bridge from Britain to Northern Ireland.
The Prime Minister, who has a history of promoting eye-catching infrastructure projects which never happen, wanted to create a “Brexit” link over the treacherous Irish Sea.
Experts warned the scheme, which was forecast to cost up to £20billion, was unviable and not worth the money.
Mr Johnson has now accepted his dream link to the Emerald Isle must be shelved.
Quizzed about the project, he told reporters: “You’ll have to wait until the spending review and the Integrated Rail Plan which is also coming out.”
But he conceded: “What I would say perhaps about the tunnel/ bridge is perhaps although it remains an ambition, it’s not the most immediate.”
Yet he claimed it “will be delivered substantially after the rest of the programme” for the UK transport network.
The PM has long dreamt of physically linking mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.
In March, he even commissioned Network Rail’s chairman Sir Peter Hendy to look at a 31-mile fixed link, believing it would strengthen ties between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The idea for a tunnel came after experts ridiculed proposals for a bridge over the water.
But others pointed out a route beneath the Irish Sea could disturb an arms dump in the Beaufort Dyke, where an estimated 1.17 million tonnes of conventional and chemical weapons have been dropped.
The channel between Portpatrick and Larne is almost 1,000ft deep and may contain unexploded Second World War bombs.
The PM’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings said in July: “The Prime Minister’s only agenda is to buy more trains, buy more buses, have more bikes and build the world’s most stupid tunnel to Ireland.”
Earlier this month, the Mirror reported how the PM’s dream had been torpedoed.