South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper, following media reports in recent days, has again hit out at what she describes as the Prime Minister’s distracting and fanciful idea to burrow his way under the Irish Sea – through the world war II munitions dump site, Beaufort’s Dyke, and into Northern Ireland – as a technique to take public attention away from his catastrophic Brexit arrangements and the Irish Protocol.
The South Scotland MSP, who has questioned the UK Government on this project since it was first plucked out of the air by the Prime Minister, has also raised the concerns of her constituents living across Stranraer and its surrounding areas who have not had any involvement, engagement or any consultation on this proposed £8-15bn distraction.
Ms Harper has also asked whether the UK Government have consulted with explosive experts to see if the project is even feasible, given that in excess of 14,500 registered tonnes of active munitions and poisonous gas are lying on the floor of the sea. This is not to mention that the MOD Bomb Disposal Unit are frequently called out to beaches across South West Scotland and Ireland to safely disarm and dispose of munitions and unexploded bombs, indicating that the munitions are not just within the deep water trench, but are scattered across the sea bed.
To date, Ms Harper has had no response to her correspondence to Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of the Union Connectivity Review, who was the PM’s Transport Advisor when he was London Mayor and both could not even build a 360 meter garden bridge across the River Thames.
Commenting, Ms Harper said:
“We all know that the Prime Minister is a fan of burying his head in the sand when it comes to the reality of decision making, but to literally attempt to burrow his way out of facing up to his failed Brexit and very concerning and ever changing position on the Northern Ireland Protocol is beyond belief. Even the Prime Ministers own MPs know how mad this project is, with the Chair of the Northern Ireland Commons Committee stating that trains through the tunnel could be pulled by ‘an inexhaustible herd of unicorns, overseen by a heard of officious dodos’.
“The reality is that UK firms have been struggling to send goods to Northern Ireland due to new,bureaucratic requirements – and grace periods are due to expire within weeks – putting up new barriers to trade. The situation is so bad that just this month, border inspectors were withdrawn from ports in Northern Ireland as tensions mounted. My challenge to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State is simple: step into reality, face up to the disastrous implications of Brexit, keep the commitment to the Northern Ireland Protocol and deal with governing the country, especially as the primary concern is the pandemic.
“If, however, the Prime Minister is insistent on enacting his fantasy, then I call on him to show us the evidence – the advice from the explosive efforts, realistic cost projections and meaningful consultation with my constituents across Stranraer and its surrounding areas. The Prime Ministers’ problems can’t be fixed by any super-duper looking plan for an eye-wateringly expensive crossing paid for by Scottish and UK taxpayers. The UK Government need to provide a proper solution for trade right now.”
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