THE Scottish Secretary will today defend a new pro-Union transport plan for the first time since Boris Johnson abandoned one its big ideas, a fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Alister Jack will hail Sir Peter Hendy’s Union Connectivity Review as a potential “economic and lifestyle game-changer” before publications of its final recommendations.

However one of the review’s early suggestions - a feasibility study into a 30-mile bridge or tunnel from Scotland to Ulster - is going nowhere.

The Prime Minister, who wanted the link to be a symbol of the Union, downgraded the £20bn scheme to a long-term “ambition” last month.

The PM’s former aide, Dominic Cummings, had called it the “world’s most stupid tunnel”.

Mr Jack had insisted the idea was “fantastic”, despite Belfast and Edinburgh saying the money could be far better spent elsewhere.

It was finally killed off by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as unaffordable, and will not feature in his budget or spending review later this month.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson backs away from 'world's most stupid tunnel'

Mr Jack, who will take part in a roundtable discussion on the review at the Tory conference in Manchester, said: “For the first time, we have taken a comprehensive look at connectivity across the UK as a whole. Sir Peter has identified key strategic corridors, the arteries through which the economic lifeblood of this country courses.

“His approach has not been to look at transport links individually, but to understand how they interconnect and interact, regardless of borders.

“Evaluating road, rail, air and sea links in this holistic fashion can help us address the too-often sclerotic nature of transport today.

“I firmly believe this innovative methodology can shape transport links which work better for business. That’s good for the companies involved, good for their customers, good for the environment, and a potential economic game-changer as we strive to level up communities right across the country.

“It also offers hope for people who currently have to endure grinding commutes and the misery of unreliable transport options.

“Transport touches us all and Britons deserve connectivity fit for the 21st Century. In Sir Peter’s work, I firmly believe that we have a blueprint to deliver exactly that.”