I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on improving Union connectivity and recently met Baroness Vere to discuss the final report of the Union connectivity review. I look forward to meeting the new Scottish Government Transport Minister, Jenny Gilruth, in the near future to discuss shared transport priorities.
As a Borderlands MP, I am strongly supportive of the extension of the Borders railway from Tweedbank through Longtown in my constituency and on to Carlisle. It would improve connectivity, benefit local communities and be a massive economic boost to our region, but the proposals have been under consideration for a long time now, and it is vital that we move forward with this project. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is essential that the UK and Scottish Governments work together and with local authorities to prioritise the delivery of this project, which would benefit local residents and businesses and strengthen our precious Union?
I completely agree with my hon. Friend that we need to work together on this project, which will be of benefit to his constituents and the whole country. I regret that the project has not had the priority we would like to see in the Scottish Government’s strategic transport projects review 2, but we will continue to work with the Scottish Government and see how we can best support it. We have committed to the next stage of the project, and I hope the Scottish Government do, too.
On strengthening Union connectivity, can the Minister advise the House on what happened to the impossible bridge across Beaufort’s Dyke? What kind of money was spent on something that never happened and did not connect the Union?
I can tell the hon. Gentleman that it is right that we look at all possible transport links. [Interruption.] He mocks, but if he looks at what the Scottish Government are proposing, they are looking at fixed tunnels linking parts of Scotland together. In the Union connectivity review, we are looking at strengthening—[Interruption.]
Order. Mr Docherty-Hughes, just because you have put your mask on does not disguise the fact that you are shouting. In fact, the best thing is that the mask moves as well.