Boris Johnson proposes 22-mile bridge across the Channel

Photo: theguardian


Foreign secretary discusses idea with French president Emmanuel Macron as a way to enhance transport links after Brexit

Boris Johnson has floated the idea of a 22-mile bridge across the Channel to enhance transport links with France after Brexit.

The foreign secretary discussed the issue with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, at the Anglo-French summit, saying it was “ridiculous” that two of the world’s biggest economies are linked by a single railway line.

Macron is understood to have responded positively with an agreement that a second link should be built.

At the gathering at Sandhurst military college in Berkshire, Theresa May and Macron held talks alongside their senior ministers.

Macron has offered to loan Britain the Bayeux tapestry as a gesture of friendship, and suggested the UK and France were “making a new tapestry together” with their range of bilateral agreements across culture, security, art and trade.

Later, Johnson tweeted a picture of himself and Macron both giving a thumbs-up sign, captioned: “En marche! Great meetings with French counterparts today.”

He also tweeted: “I’m especially pleased we are establishing a panel of experts to look at major projects together. Our economic success depends on good infrastructure and good connections. Should the Channel Tunnel be just a first step?”

Johnson has previously promoted the idea of another Channel Tunnel but is now said to think a bridge could also be possible, telling aides that such feats of engineering have been achieved in Japan.

It was revealed last year in a book about the election, by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, that Johnson was keen on a road tunnel linking Britain and France under the Channel to cement the countries’ relationship after Brexit. He was said to have abandoned the idea after being talked out of it by his former aide Will Walden.

Johnson has championed ambitious infrastructure projects in the past that have not come to fruition.

As mayor of London, he opened the £60m Emirates Air Line cable car which has failed to attract hoped-for commuter traffic.

Johnson wanted an airport built in the Thames estuary, dubbed Boris Island, but the idea was dismissed as impractical and costly in comparison to expanding Heathrow. He also backed the construction of a garden bridge across the Thames in west London which was ditched by his successor as mayor, Sadiq Khan, for not offering value for money.

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