Defiant Penny Mordaunt 'guilty as charged' after bitter Aquind boss Alexander Temerko brands her 'absolutely uncontrollable'

BITTER business tycoon Alexander Temerko has labelled Penny Mordaunt an ‘absolutely uncontrollable woman’ after his £1.2bn Aquind power cable scheme in Portsmouth was refused.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 24th January 2022, 12:01 pm

The Ukrainian-born businessman went on the offensive over the weekend after his plan to link France and Portsmouth with an undersea electricity link was thrown out by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on Thursday.

The long-awaited decision brought jubilation in Portsmouth, which campaigners say would have seen large swathes of the east of the city dug up to lay cables for the new interconnector.

But a seething Mr Temerko – who is one of the Conservative party’s biggest donors – raged that the decision would only deepen Britain’s fuel poverty crisis and said it created a ‘very bad precedent’.

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The 'Let's Stop Aquind' walking protest against Aquind pictured starting at the Fort Cumberland car park in Eastney. Pictured is Penny Mordaunt MP speaking at the gathering. Picture: Sam Stephenson

And the 55-year-old industry chief launched a personal attack on Portsmouth North MP, Ms Mordaunt, who had fought alongside city campaigners to defeat Aquind’s plans, branding the former defence secretary a ‘real threat to national security’.

It came after trade minister Ms Mordaunt warned the interconnector would make Britain more reliant on France for electricity when France has threatened to use electricity as a bargaining chip in post-Brexit negotiations.

France had never stopped supplying electricity, Mr Temerko insisted, before lashing out and saying: ‘The real threat to national security is Penny Mordaunt - absolutely uncontrollable woman.’

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But today Ms Mordaunt has issued a fiery and defiant response to the oil tycoon’s critique, telling The News: ‘I will always stand up for what I believe is in Portsmouth and our country’s best interests. If that makes me “absolutely uncontrollable” then guilty as charged.’

Mr Temerko will seek a judicial review against the government's decision, The Telegraph reported.

He warned that energy investment is a ‘long-term investment business’ but ‘regulation in Europe is much more stable and more effective than in the UK’, with renewable energy projects facing lengthy hurdles this side of the Channel.

The decision comes as energy bills for millions of people across the UK are expected to soar over the coming year.

The number of homes set to be plunged into ‘fuel stress’ could rise to over six million in April when a new price cap comes into play, according to the think-tank The Resolution Foundation

Mr Temerko added the move to block Aquind would exacerbate Britain’s looming fuel crisis.

‘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 said.

The interconnector cable would have linked Portsmouth to Le Havre with a 2GW electricity cable, producing enough energy to power more than 1.3 million homes.

But the project was fiercely opposed in Portsmouth, with campaigners fearing it would cause huge environmental devastation and chaos across the city while it was built.

The campaign, which has been backed by The News, was supported by all political parties, including the Liberal Democrat-run city council, Labour’s MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, and Tory MP Ms Mordaunt, in Portsmouth North.

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