Ian Paisley asks Karen Bradley about building bridge to Scotland
DUP MP Ian Paisley has asked Secretary of State Karen Bradley about building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The North Antrim MP has returned to parliament after being suspended for 30 sitting days for failing to declare two luxury holidays paid for by Sri Lanka's government and then lobbying on the country's behalf.
However, he avoided losing his seat and facing a by-election after a recall petition held in the constituency narrowly failed to gather the required number of signatures.
His suspension expired on Tuesday and Mr Paisley took his place on the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee today as Secretary of State Karen Bradley answered questions.
It's good to see you back, says Karen Bradley to Ian Paisley. Thank you, he replies— Julian O'Neill (@julianoneill) November 21, 2018
Asked if the government would carry out a feasibility study on building a bridge linking Northern Ireland and Scotland, Karen Bradley said she would be happy to meet and look at any proposal.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood later criticised Mr Paisley for raising the issue, suggesting he should be more concerned about infrastructure issues within Northern Ireland.
Ian Paisley Jr at it again. Going on about a bridge to Scotland. Funny, in all the years that his party ran the Executive with SF, I don't ever remember him raising concerns about the pitiful state of infrastructure west of the Bann.— Colum Eastwood (@columeastwood) November 21, 2018
The DUP previously proposed a feasibility study into a bridge in 2015 and earlier this year leader Arlene Foster told an Orange Order parade in Scotland that there was "growing support" for the project.
Former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who resigned from Theresa May's cabinet in July in protest at her plans for a Brexit deal, also said: "What we need to do is build a bridge between our islands. Why don't we? Why don't we?"
However, the proposal was last month dismissed by a retired engineer as "about as feasible as building a bridge to the moon".
In a letter to the Sunday Times, James Duncan said a bridge has never been built across "such a wide-deep and stormy stretch of water" and "no sane contractor or responsible government" would consider the project.