COMMENT: We mustn't end up in a compromising position over power

Imagine modern life without power. We need electricity to be able to function in our home and work lives. It's as essential as water.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 12:00 am

Yet what if our supply was suddenly halted? What's to say this scary scenario couldn't happen if we become over-reliant on another country for our energy?

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt is so concerned that she has called for the controversial £1.2bn Aquind project, in which an interconnector would bring power from the continent to Britain via undersea cables coming ashore at Eastney, to be halted.

She has written to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who will have the final say on the plan, urging him to say no as it’s not in our national interest.

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She’s right. Because French maritime minister Annick Girardin's threat to cut power to Jersey in a row over fishing licences - described by Ms Mordaunt as 'sinister' - demonstrates just what could happen.

The minister told the French parliament that ‘retaliatory measures’ could be taken, including cutting power to the Crown dependencies.

Ms Mordaunt adds: 'Increasing our dependence on French nuclear increases the likelihood it will become politicised and involved in any future discussions, in particular on fishing.'

Jersey Electricity says 95 per cent of its power comes from undersea cables from France. Aquind says its interconnector could provide five per cent of our total annual electric consumption - which doesn't sound a lot by comparison, but is still enough for five million homes.

What if Britain gets into an argument with France or the EU over something and they respond with the threat to turn off that electricity?

That's a strong hand in any game of negotiation poker. We mustn’t allow ourselves to be put in such a potentially compromising position.