The latest extravagant transport idea backed by Boris Johnson could see three tunnels heading out from England and Scotland, arriving at a roundabout dubbed ‘Douglas Junction’, before heading across the Irish Sea.
While it is an eye-catching proposal, the idea is said to exist ‘primarily in the mind of the PM,’ according to one senior aide.
The idea comes amid talk of a 25-mile, £10bn, undersea tunnel dubbed ‘Boris’ Burrow,’ that would link Stranraer in Scotland and Larne in Northern Ireland.
Three tunnels setting out from Heysham in Lancashire, Liverpool and Stranraer could join a roundabout dubbed ‘Douglas Junction’ at the Isle of Man, before venturing on to Larne in Northern Ireland
Studies are currently being undertaken by the chairman of Network Rail, Peter Hendy, to find out if the 25-mile tunnel would be possible.
A direct tunnel from Stranraer to Larne would have to cross Beaufort’s Dyke – where 1.5million tonnes of munitions were dumped after the Second World War
Mr Hendy has already met the Prime Minster to discuss his findings and his report is expected to be released within a matter of weeks.
But The Times today reports officials at Number 10 decided the 25-mile tunnel idea may be impractical.
Instead, officials have suggested three tunnels, starting from Stranraer, Liverpool and Heysham in Lancashire, could meet at a roundabout at the Isle of Man, before a tunnel stretched on to Larne.
Critics say the ‘Douglas Junction’ scheme is ‘bats***,’ but Downing Street aides are pressing ahead with researching the plans as Boris Johnson is so fervent in his backing that the idea ‘cannot die’
The roundabout could be dubbed Douglas Junction – after the island’s capital.
While one source told The Times the idea was ‘bats***,’ another said they continue to look at the plan, as the PM backs it so fervently that it ‘cannot die’.
They added: ‘Just as Hitler moved around imaginary armies in the dying days of the Third Reich, so the No 10 policy unit is condemned to keep looking at this idea, which exists primarily in the mind of the PM.’
A link between Scotland and Northern Ireland was first proposed by Boris Johnson during the Tory leadership race in 2018 in the form of a bridge.
‘What we need to do is build a bridge between our islands,’ he declared, during an interview that was highly critical of Theresa May’s leadership.
‘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.’
Plans for 25-mile tunnel connecting Stranraer, Scotland, and Larne, Northern Ireland, is expected to get the go ahead within a matter of weeks
At the time the proposal was ridiculed by some but it appears the suggestion could become a reality.
Both he and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack are believed to be firm supporters of the plans which are said to be similar to the 23.5mile deep Channel tunnel.
Speaking the Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, Mr Jack explained a tunnel was the preferred option because ‘a bridge would be closed for probably 100 days a year with the weather in the Irish Sea’.
When first proposed there were also concerns about Beautfort’s Dyke, a trench in the North Channel where tons of munitions were dumped after the Second World War, and whether it would be logistically plausible.
DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: ‘This kind of project would at least give people in Northern Ireland the belief that the Government was prepared to put in infrastructure and spend money to make sure that we are physically connected.’
MailOnline has approached Downing Street for a comment.