Tory donor threatens legal action against government after they block £1.2bn cable plans
A major Tory donor behind a government-blocked £1.2bn power cable project is threatening legal action.
Alexander Temerko said he plans to file a judicial review against the decision by Minister of Affairs Kwasi Kwarteng against Aquind’s proposed electricity link between Portsmouth and Normandy.
And Mr Temerko said he would take unspecified legal action against Commerce Secretary Penny Mordaunt personally, describing her as the “greatest security threat” after successfully campaigning against the project.
Ms Mordaunt, a former defense minister, had warned that the Aquind link posed a threat to Britain’s ‘energy security’, while urging ministers not to let the plans go ahead.
Alexander Temerko has accused Commerce Secretary Penny Mordaunt of being the ‘greatest security threat’ after campaigning against the Aquind power cable project
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng decided to reject Aquind’s plans (pictured) to build a new electricity link between Portsmouth and Normandy in France
Part-owned by Russian-born former oil magnate Victor Fedotov, Aquind Limited has donated at least £430,000 to the Conservative Party and its MPs.
Mr Temerko, a British citizen born in the former Soviet Union and director of the company, has donated more than £730,000.
In an interview with the PA news agency, Mr Temerko expressed his anger at the Conservative MP’s intervention when he lashed out at Mr Kwarteng’s “unusual decision” last week.
“We are preparing a judicial review and we are considering taking action against Penny Mordaunt because there is something in her statement that is absolutely wrong,” the donor said.
Tory donor Alexander Temerko, who has given more than £730,000 to the Conservative Party and its MPs, pictured with former Prime Minister David Cameron
Mr Temerko also said he is considering writing a “letter to the Prime Minister”, with whom he describes being “political friends for years”, regarding Ms Mordaunt’s role in government.
“She must remain silent if she is a minister, if she wants to be an active politician she must resign,” Temerko said.
On Thursday, a letter published on the Planning Inspectorate’s website showed that Mr Kwarteng decided to ‘deny development permit’ after considering his obligations under the National Energy Policy Statement.
Mr Kwarteng was reportedly not convinced that ‘appropriate alternatives to the proposed route’ had been sufficiently considered, raising concerns in particular about ‘the proposed landfall at an urban site’.
Before making his decision, Ms Mordaunt said Aquind’s plans would make Britain more dependent on France, allowing Paris to “use future energy supplies as a bargaining chip.”
Mr Temerko claimed her comments made her a ‘war-stimulator’, adding: ‘It’s absolutely terrible if you just want to punish my cases, and at the same time she tried to punish all cases of interconnectors with France and Europe.
“It’s very unprofessional, she’s a security threat. Penny Mordaunt is the greatest threat to the security of our country.”
Mordaunt opposed plans by Aquind, co-owned by Alexander Temerko, to build the interconnector under the Channel between Normandy and Portsmouth (the town where she is a Member of Parliament). In response, Temerko said she was an “absolutely uncontrollable woman.”
Aquind’s website said the cabe will “make energy markets more efficient, improve security of supply and allow for greater flexibility as power grids evolve.”
He argued that his interconnector would lower energy prices upon completion and appeal to local activists against his plans.
“Of course they want … a lower price of electricity, but ‘not in my village,’ you know,” he said.
Asked if he isn’t prolonging the pain for Portsmouth residents by taking legal action, he insisted that “there will be disruption, but a minor disruption.”
Mr Temerko insisted there was nothing wrong with making large donations to the ruling party while urging the government to approve his project.
“I see no conflict of interest,” Temerko said, adding that he will “naturally” continue to donate to the conservatives.
“I support many, many MPs, they are my friends, it is not my donations because I want to receive something,” he added.
Mr Temerko said he has six weeks to file the judicial review against the government, and declined to say what kind of action he will take against Ms Mordaunt, who has been approached with a request for comment.