Aquind: Council Leader’s letter to minister

The Leader of Portsmouth City Council has sent the following letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Dear Mr Kwarteng MP

Re: Aquind Interconnector Application

I am writing about the Aquind Interconnector application, which will take a major electricity line through Portsmouth, from the south to the north of the city.

The reasons for objecting to this proposal, be they environmental, traffic chaos or national security are well known and all parties in the City oppose these plans.

I was very alarmed to hear your reply when you were questioned on the Andrew Marr Show. You said, “I have never commented on this specific project” when questioned about Aquind.

I am in possession of a copy of the letter you wrote to Mr Alexander Temerko (a Director of Aquind and a major donor to the Conservative Party) on 03 October 2019 where you said “We [the Government] will reiterate our continuing support for all projects that we have supported for inclusion on the list. This of course includes the AQUIND project.”

Clearly, when you were speaking on the Andrew Marr Show you had either forgotten that you had written in those terms or were not telling the truth, as you have not only commented on the Aquind project but written to the Director of the Company to say you support Aquind. I, therefore, think the people of Portsmouth are owed an apology that you did not tell the truth when interviewed, and that you need to remove yourself from any part in the decision on Aquind as you have been shown to have prejudged the decision in favour of donors to your political party.

The more I see of this murky proposal the more people tell me that this has the smell of corruption about it, and we do not need Kremlin style politics here. For the good of all involved in politics, it is important that there can be no impression given that planning permission is on sale in the UK. I, therefore, urge you to remove yourself from this decision.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson CBE

Leader of the Council