Ministers moving quickly to dump Boris Johnson’s FCO legacy, MP claims
The SNP’s Patrick Grady criticised the idea for a Channel bridge and said Mr Johnson’s successor appears less keen.
Boris Johnson’s successor as Foreign Secretary appears to have “washed his hands altogether” of a multibillion-pound Channel bridge, according to an MP.
The SNP’s Patrick Grady added Mr Johnson’s former Cabinet colleagues “can’t move quickly enough to dump” his Foreign Office legacy.
The Glasgow North MP took aim at Mr Johnson after pressing Jeremy Hunt to detail his department’s policy on exploring the possibility of a new fixed link between Great Britain and France.
So much important work in #UKFRSummit outcomes, but 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?— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 18, 2018
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan, issuing a holding answer to the written parliamentary question, replied: “This is a matter for the Department for Transport.”
Mr Johnson, who quit the Cabinet over Brexit, was a strong supporter of a privately-financed Channel bridge after claiming the Channel Tunnel will be “full” by 2025.
Speaking in February, he told MPs it was a “curiosity” that the UK and France – separated by approximately 21 miles of water – were connected by “only one railway line”.
Mr Johnson also claimed French president Emmanuel Macron was supportive of the “committee of wise people” established to look at reviving UK-France collaboration in matters including defence and infrastructure projects “such as the idea of a new connection between our two countries”.
En marche ! Great meetings with French counterparts today pic.twitter.com/D73B1rSkd3— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 18, 2018
Mr Grady told the Press Association: “It seems the Tory Government can’t move quickly enough to dump Boris’s legacy at the Foreign Office.
“It was never clear if a new fixed link to France was government policy or just another of the former foreign secretary’s diplomatic blunders, but now his successor has washed his hands of it altogether.
“Perhaps that means the Government will now try to focus on how to avoid a no-deal Brexit and 20-mile queues at Dover, rather than on the construction of a 20-mile bridge they’d be waiting to get on to.”
Mr Johnson’s younger brother Jo is a minister at the Department for Transport, albeit focused on rail matters.