LORD Adonis, who has called for a fixed link to the Isle of Wight, has come up with seven ideas which he thinks would help the Island.

Among his suggestions is the nationalisation of the ferries, and free travel for all under 21s to and from the mainland.

He spoke to us this week, after his Twitter row with Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely, in which he criticised the Island's ferries and transport infrastructure.

He said: "My interest simply comes from a visit to the Island last weekend.

"On what should have been a straightforward train/ferry/train journey from Waterloo to Brading, on advertised connections, I was greeted by a ferry that was full at Portsmouth, although it was a scheduled connection from the train. It was full because half of the ferries had been cancelled. I then had to wait more than an hour because the next operational ferry was late.

"Because of this, the connection at Ryde was missed, so I was nearly two hours late at Brading. Coming back, I just missed a ferry at Ryde, whereupon I had to wait another hour because the next ferry was cancelled.

"That ferry too was late, so I missed the connection at Portsmouth and had to wait another half hour for that train.

"All in all, delays and cancellations cost me four hours on a round trip of 175 miles to get to and from the Island, and the fare was ridiculously high too. And lots of people on both journeys told me this was now normal."

He said he wondered why people put up with it, and why the MP and council did not 'sort it out'.

He said he wondered why, in 2019, there was no tunnel or bridge.

He said: "After all, if we can connect England and France and England and Wales with tunnels, and the Isle of Sky and the Humber with long bridges, it’s surely a no-brainer to do the same with the Isle of Wight, which has a population of 140,000 and is being trashed economically by the absence of such a tunnel.

"It is obviously for the council or the Government to fund a study on an issue of such fundamental importance to the Island as the viability and plan for a fixed link. I am astonished this is not happening.

"I do not recall being approached by either the council or the then MP with plans for a fixed link or other transport schemes when I was Transport Secretary.

"I do remember asking the then MP on one occasion why there wasn’t a bridge or tunnel and he told me that he didn’t support one.

"These issues are not going away. If they aren’t addressed, the Island will continue in further relative decline, with tragic consequences, particularly for young people on the Island.

"I have no axe to grind, or interest, in this other than wanting the best for the Isle of Wight, which has a stunning future if it isn’t trashed by continued poor leadership."

He outlined seven ideas he thinks the Island should adopt:

1. There should be an independent review of a fixed link with the mainland, including a rail tunnel connecting Portsmouth to Ryde linking into rail metro system serving Shanklin, Ventnor, Newport, Cowes, Yarmouth.

2. The ferries, badly run and expensive, should be nationalised.

3. All under 21s should be given free travel to and from mainland.

4. Portsmouth and Southampton universities should set up a joint campus on the IW.

5. An equivalent of London Challenge should be set up for IW’s secondary schools and Teach First asked to supply best teachers.

6. A suitable major state employer (Environment Agency?) should be substantially moved to the Island now, and fully after fixed link.

7. A jobs strategy should be drawn up by the Treasury, recommending employment and investment incentives.

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