Portsmouth MP criticises 'cosy relationships' between Aquind and Conservatives

A POLITICIAN has launched a scathing attack on the ‘cosy relationships’ between Conservative MPs and the director of a controversial interconnector project.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 3:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 3:22 pm

In Westminster Hall today, Labour MP for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan spoke about the proposed Aquind project, which would see electricity cables run electricity from France to Eastney, and then up to Lovedean.

Mr Morgan was particularly vocal about how the company’s director, Alexander Temerko, is continuing to donate to the Conservative Party, which he believes jeopardises the impartiality of any decision on the project.

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The 'Let's Stop Aquind' walking protest against Aquind pictured starting at the Fort Cumberland car park in Eastney. Picture: Sam Stephenson

He said: ‘Constituents are troubled by reports of the applicant’s previous donations to the Conservative Party, and Aquind has mounted a shady campaign to buy Conservative ministers behind closed doors – £55,000 has been donated by Mr Temerko since August last year, and minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan recused herself from speaking on the matter.

‘This makes a total mockery of the planning inspectorate’s investigation – the business secretary will make the final call, and any suggestion that he can make an impartial decision on the project is now a fantasy.’

Current energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan declared in 2020 a £2,500 donation from Aquind.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has also faced opposition to Aquind’s plans from within his own party, after Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt asked him to reject the proposals.

Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South. Stock Picture: Chris Moorhouse (060619-20)

A final decision is due within the next couple of months.

As previously reported in The News, the interconnector, which would cost more than £1n, has seen fierce opposition from councils and grassroots protesters Let’s Stop Aquind.

Mr Morgan added that he has spoken to a number of residents who would be affected by the project, and sees no upside for them.

He said: ‘To ignore the overwhelming negative impact this would have on Portsmouth residents and businesses is a dereliction of duty.

‘The construction of this project would take up to seven years, and do untold environmental damage. There will also be significant disruption to residents in a wide range of areas, from Farlington to Eastney.

‘Beneath the cosy relationships that ministers have with their billionaire donors are choices that affect the day-to-day lives of people in Portsmouth – they deserve total transparency.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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