Labour says that the government should carry out an audit of its relationship with Beijing after a series of controversies over Chinese investment. Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, called for “a complete audit” of the UK-China relationship to “call time” on friendly relations developed under David Cameron. Boris Johnson was warned last week that Britain’s first new nuclear power station in a generation could be at risk after it emerged that the government was trying to prevent China’s state-owned energy company building it. Nandy said: “Once again the Tories are facing the consequences of their own naive and complacent approach to relations with China. The Conservative government should never have signed the 2015 nuclear agreement and it is now having to reckon with the results. “We need much more strategic independence in our critical infrastructure. The government should now commit to a complete audit of the UK-China relationship so that we can finally call time on the Conservatives’ failed ‘golden era’ strategy and replace weakness, division and incoherence with an approach that is instead based on strength, unity and consistency and rooted in our values.”
Times 2nd Aug 2021 read more »
It was revealed on Monday that ministers want to remove Beijing’s state-owned energy company China General Nuclear (CGN) from future UK power projects. In light of this, Steerpike thought he would look into those MPs and peers who have declared enjoying hospitality from CGN in the past. Neil Coyle, Trudy Harrison, Sue Hayman and Lord Broers all visited China in November 2018 and had their travel and accommodation costs paid by CGN as part of a trip by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Nuclear Energy. Various total costs are listed but they will have exceeded £50,000, according to an entry on the APPG’s website. An awkward declaration in light of the government’s hardening stance on China perhaps – but at least they registered their visit in line with parliamentary rules. By contrast, Tory backbencher Ian Liddell-Grainger has made no such declaration in his register of members’ interests, more than two and a half years on. This is despite him telling a Westminster Hall debate on the future of Hinkley Point the week after the trip: ‘I have just returned from China, which I visited with a group of colleagues from the all-party parliamentary group on nuclear energy. We were guests of EDF’s Chinese partners, CGN.’ The Bridgwater and West Somerset MP also praised the CGN’s reactor in Taishan in the debate and is a long-standing champion of Hinkley Point here in the UK. Liddell-Grainger did not respond to requests by The Spectator for comment.
Spectator 30th July 2021 read more »