Major Tory donor accuses ministers of making fuel poverty worse

Major Tory donor accuses ministers of making fuel poverty worse after they blocked plans for £1.2billion electricity cable between England and France

  • Alexander Temerko’s plan for the cross-Channel link was rejected this week
  • The plan was to bring in an electricity link between Portsmouth and Normandy
  • But they were met with opposition before the business secretary refused it
  • Mr Temerko said decision was ‘absolutely wrongand set ‘dangerous precedent
  • He called Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt an ‘absolutely uncontrollable woman
  • A major Conservative party donor accused ministers of worsening the fuel poverty crisis after blocking his cross-Channel power cable project.

    Businessman Alexander Temerko, 55, said he will seek a judicial review after the Government refused the £1.2billion link between England and Frankryk in a move which he said created a ‘very bad precedent’.

    Mr Temerko, a British citizen who was born in the Soviet Union, has donated more than £1million to the Tories and is listed as a director of Aquind Limited.

    Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng last week decided to dismiss Aquind’s plans to provide a new electricity link between Portsmouth and Normandy in France.

    The proposal was controversial and Penny Mordaunt, the former defence secretary and current MP for Portsmouth North, claimed the project posed an energy security risk. She celebrated its refusal, tweeting ‘we did it, before Mr Temerko called her ‘an absolutely uncontrollable woman’.

    Mr Temerko said energy investment is a ‘long-term investment business’ maar bygevoeg: ‘regulation in Europe is much more stable and more effective than in the UKas renewable energy products faced obstructions in the UK.

    His comments come as households prepare to face at least a £3,000 spending squeeze in 2022 as soaring energy bills send inflation through the roof

    Experts predict basic household spending will be £2,440 higher than at the start of the pandemic. But on top of this, families are facing the added burden of a £600 national insurance hike and other tax rises.

    Alexander Temerko (pictured with the PM), a British citizen who was born in the Soviet Union, has donated more than £1million to the Tories and accused ministers of worsening the fuel poverty crisis after blocking his cross-Channel power cable project

    Alexander Temerko (pictured with the PM), a British citizen who was born in the Soviet Union, has donated more than £1million to the Tories and accused ministers of worsening the fuel poverty crisis after blocking his cross-Channel power cable project

    Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng decided to dismiss Aquind's plans (op die foto) to provide a new electricity link between Portsmouth and Normandy in France

    Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng decided to dismiss Aquind’s plans (op die foto) to provide a new electricity link between Portsmouth and Normandy in France

    Mr Temerko told the Telegraaf: ‘Five million people in this country will not be able to afford electricity – for the first time – and they refuse this application and postpone two others.

    He accused the UK of failing to deliver on its message of being ‘the greenestand ‘very bold, and very brave’.

    A letter published on the Planning Inspectorate website showed Mr Kwarteng decided to ‘refuse development consentfor Aquind’s project having considered his obligations under the energy National Policy Statement.

    Trade minister Penny Mordaunt, the MP for Portsmouth North, het die besluit gevier, toevoeging: ‘Thank you to everyone who campaigned against Aquind and this ridiculous proposal that would have damaged our city and would have damaged the country.

    ‘It shows that despite all the odds against us, if you stand up for what you believe in and you fight for it, you can actually change things.

    ‘Thank you so much. We’ve done a huge service not just to our city but to the country as well.

    Mordaunt opposed plans by Aquind, co-owned by Alexander Temerko, to construct the interconnector under the Channel between Normandy and Portsmouth (the city where she is an MP). In reaksie daarop, Mr Temerko said she was an ‘absolutely uncontrollable woman

    Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, a Labour frontbencher, gesê: ‘The Government have finally seen sense and stopped the disastrous Aquind project.

    ‘This is a victory for the people of Portsmouth over years of uncertainty and Tory cronyism.

    Berwick-upon-Tweed MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, now the International Trade Secretary, removed herself from the process in July over funding received by Northumberland Conservatives.

    Mr Temerko, who has praised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the vaccination programme, had proposed the 2GW electricity link to balance out electricity supply from wind and solar, to help meet up to five percent of the UK’s demand.

    But the project sparked opposition in Portsmouth, including from Ms Mordaunt and Mr Morgan, who warned of the environmental impact of substations and cables.

    Alexander Temerko is pictured with former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron

    Alexander Temerko is pictured with former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron

    Aquind's website said the cabe 'will make energy markets more efficient, improve security of supply and enable greater flexibility as power grids evolve'

    Aquind’s website said the cabe ‘will make energy markets more efficient, improve security of supply and enable greater flexibility as power grids evolve

    Ms Mordaunt, who claimed the project would have made the UK more reliant on France for electricity, was ready to quit if the cable was approved, government sources said.

    Rejecting the application, Mr Kwarteng, who had been recommended to approve it by the examining authority, said ‘adverse effects weigh against the development’.

    He suggested Aquind consider connecting it to substation in Dorset, rather than the proposed route into Portsmouth.

    Describing the refusal as ‘absolutely wrong’, Mr Temerko added: ‘Between populism and real jobs we need to make a decision. That is a problem for government.

    ‘The real threat to national security is Penny Mordauntabsolutely uncontrollable woman.

    Mr Temerko, who previously ran a firm producing weapons for Russia’s military, and Aquind have given more than £1 million to the Tories and he has regularly featured in photos at fundraisers with Prime Ministers and their Cabinets.

    In 2020, Mr Temerko previously told MPs that Russian-linked businessmen have ‘zeropolitical influence.

    His remarks came amid concerns about the influence of Russian-linked oligarchs in the highest echelons of British business and politics.

    A Government spokesman told the Telegraph: ‘The Secretary of State has refused development consent. We cannot comment further on any potential legal proceedings.