Major Tory donor threatens legal action after government blocks cable

Major Tory donor threatens legal action against government 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 wrong’ and set ‘dangerous precedent’ 
  • He called Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt an ‘absolutely uncontrollable woman’

A major Tory donor behind a £1.2 billion cross-Channel power cable project blocked by the Government is threatening to take legal action. 

Alexander Temerko said he plans to bring a judicial review against Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s decision against Aquind’s proposed electricity link between Portsmouth and Normandy.

And Mr Temerko said he would bring unspecified legal action against trade minister Penny Mordaunt personally, describing her as the ‘biggest threat to security’ after she successfully campaigned against the project.

Ms Mordaunt, a former defence secretary, had warned the Aquind link was a threat to Britain’s ‘energy security’ as she urged ministers to prevent the plans going ahead.

Alexander Temerko has accused trade minister Penny Mordaunt of being the  ‘biggest threat to security’ after she campaigned against the Aquind power cable project

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

Aquind Limited is part-owned by Russian-born former oil tycoon Victor Fedotov and has donated at least £430,000 to the Conservative Party and its MPs.

Mr Temerko, a British citizen who was born in the former Soviet Union and is a director of the company, has given more than £730,000.

In an interview with the PA news agency, Mr Temerko expressed anger at the Conservative MP’s intervention as he struck out at Mr Kwarteng’s ‘unusual decision’ last week.

‘We are preparing a judicial review and we are considering action against Penny Mordaunt because there’s something in her statement that was 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 was considering writing a ‘letter to the Prime Minister,’ with whom he describes being ‘political friends for many years’, over Ms Mordaunt’s role in Government.

‘She must be silent if she is a minister, if she wants to be an active politician she should resign,’ Mr Temerko said.

On Thursday, a letter published on the Planning Inspectorate website showed Mr Kwarteng decided to ‘refuse development consent’ having considered his obligations under the energy National Policy Statement.

Mr Kwarteng was said not to be satisfied that ‘appropriate alternatives to the proposed route’ had been sufficiently considered, raising particular concerns of ‘the proposed landfall in an urban location’.

Ahead of his decision, Ms Mordaunt said that Aquind’s plans would make Britain more reliant on France, allowing Paris to ‘use future energy supply as a bargaining chip’.

Mr Temerko claimed her comments made her a ‘warmonger’, adding: ‘It’s absolutely dreadful if you want to just punish my business, and at the same time she tried to punish all business of interconnectors with France and Europe.

‘It’s very unprofessional, she is a threat to security. Penny Mordaunt is the biggest threat to security for our country.’

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 response, Mr 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 enable greater flexibility as power grids evolve’

He argued that his interconnector would bring down energy prices after its completion and hit out at local campaigners against his plans.

‘Of course, they want … a cheaper price of electricity, but ‘not in my village’, you know,’ he said.

Asked if he was not prolonging the pain for Portsmouth residents by bringing legal action, he insisted that ‘there will be disruption, but a small disruption’.

Mr Temerko insisted there was nothing wrong with giving large donations to the ruling party while pressing the Government to approve his project.

‘I don’t see there’s a conflict of interest,’ Mr Temerko said, adding that ‘of course’ he will continue to donate to the Conservatives.

‘I support many, many MPs, it’s my friends, it’s not my donations because I want to receive something,’ he added.

Mr Temerko said he has six weeks to bring the judicial review against the Government, and would not state what kind of action he would bring against Ms Mordaunt, who has been contacted with a request for comment.

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