LORD Adonis, who questioned why the Isle of Wight didn't have a fixed link when he recently visited the Island, has met with the chairman of Pro-Link.

He met Carl Feeney at Westminster, to find out more about the group's attempts to seek funding for a study into the viability of a fixed link.

Labour peer Lord Adonis, a former transport secretary, tweeted his consternation about ferry delays when his journey was delayed an hour, and said he had not been asked to look into a fixed link while in power.

Mr Feeney, who is pushing for a Solent Freedom Tunnel, said: “Lines of communication regarding cross-Solent transport issues have been ongoing with Lord Adonis since his visit to the Island."

He said Lord Adonis was 'astonished' the Isle of Wight Council hadn't implemented a study.

Mr Feeney said: "Pro-Link has been forced instead into public fundraising while the council and MP are refusing to request local or central government payment sources.

“Sadly, even though Lord Adonis has assured help when possible, the meeting at Westminster concluded with him unable to assist until the council and MP requests funding.

"This negligence by the MP and council is thwarting Island business leaders and others from donating to a study.

"The ferry companies are in control. Bob Seely's cousin, Patrick Seely, is a non-executive director of Red Funnel and I am concerned about potential conflict of interest. "It is important there is transparency so the public can have trust in the process."

"The campaign to facilitate cross-Solent freedom will continue for as long as it takes, with whatever it takes. Quitting is not an option."

Mr Seely told the County Press that Patrick Seely is his second cousin, once removed — a distant relative.

There is no evidence to suggest the MP has ever been influenced by a family member.

Mr Seely said he was working hard to deliver for the Island.

He said: "I met the new transport secretary to discuss ferries recently. I am expecting a visit from a second transport minister soon, to discuss trains, roads, ferries and cycle routes.

"I will continue to challenge the cross-Solent operators to improve their services for the good of Islanders.

"I would welcome a study, but they need to find the money.

"There are very differing views on this issue, so I would suggest we also need an impact study to assess how such a physical connection would affect both the character of the Isle of Wight and its environment.

"Lord Adonis's comments showed he was sadly ill-informed.

"I am happy to meet him to explain Island issues so he is less ill-informed."

The Isle of Wight Council has previously said it would support a study but was not prepared to use taxpayers money to fund it.

A spokesperson said: “The Isle of Wight Council endorsed and agreed its support for a Solent Fixed Link Viability Study in September 2017.

“The authority took this decision following briefings from the Pro-Link group and anti-fixed link representatives, which were open to all councillors.

“The council made it clear that, given it has and continues to have other priorities from its limited resources to support the current needs of its community, funding such a study is not a priority for it.

“The council has made many submissions to government about the challenges of being an island. The most recent study conducted by the University of Portsmouth calculated the extra cost of providing local government services on the Isle of Wight was £6.4 million.

“Only this most recent study, championed by the Leader and supported by the MP, has found some acceptance with the Government.

“The government could have responded to any of the previous reports by commissioning or funding a study into the benefits of a fixed link, but it did not see the need to do so.”

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