Northern Ireland news

Sammy Wilson urges Boris Johnson to build bridge to Scotland to 'win back unionism's trust'

Sammy Wilson has said Boris Johnson could 'win back the trust' of unionists by building a bridge to Scotland. Picture by Justin Kernoghan

BORIS Johnson could "win back the trust" of Northern Ireland's unionists by building a bridge to Scotland, DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said.

The East Antrim representative said the highly ambitious project spanning the North Channel would forge a "physical and economic link" within the union.

Mr Wilson warned that the British prime minister risked overseeing the break-up of the union unless he counters the notion that the UK is run "by remote control by southern English men and women".

Strong results for the SNP in Scotland and the loss of Northern Ireland unionism's Westminster majority has fuelled speculation about a fresh independence referendum in Scotland and a border poll in Ireland.

"I think one of the big themes of this parliament will be how you protect the union of the United Kingdom and I think Boris cannot ignore the threat to the union that comes not just from Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland but also from Scotland," Mr Wilson told the Sunday Telegraph.

"He has got to take more seriously the role he has as prime minister in selling the advantages of the union, taking steps to strengthen the union and ensure that there is growth not just in the north of England but in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales."

The DUP MP pointed to his party's much-ridiculed manifesto pledge to build a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland as one way of forging a "physical and economic link" within the union.

Mr Johnson floated the same proposal earlier this year, but it was widely dismissed as too costly and too much of an engineering challenge.

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken responded to Mr Wilson's comments on social media.

"Could we rather have the money for a 30-year strategic infrastructure programme to rebuild NI for the 21st century?" he tweeted.

"Fantasy bridges & cables to Iceland are delusional - water, sewage, roads, rail, smart grids & getting us out of fuel poverty are what we really need."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news