22nd October 2015
Today I questioned the Leader of the House and had a rare moment of bipartisan consensus with Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin.
When can we debate early-day motion 599?
[That this House judges the Chinese investment in Hinkley Point C to be an act of desperation to rescue the failed EPR design after all prudent investors, including Centrica, have fled; is appalled by catastrophic delays and financial losses at all other EPR reactors; notes that Flamanville is six years late and costs had tripled to 10.5 billion euros and the Finnish EPR is seven years late and four billion euros over budget; and believes gifting China with unparalleled rights over UK nuclear development will seriously debilitate the UK’s future economy.]
It deals with the disastrous record of EPR nuclear reactors, none of which works. One is six years late, the other seven years late; one €4 billion over budget and the other €10 billion over budget. As all the sensible investors have fled from the Hinkley Point future disaster, should not Chinese investment be judged for what it is—a cynical sprat to catch the mackerel of control in perpetuity of the British nuclear industry, which will greatly debilitate the future economy and rob us of future jobs?
No, I do not believe that to be the case. The first thing to say, of course, is that this project is being led by the French. Let me remind the hon. Gentleman that one reason why we do not have a nuclear power station building capability in this country is that, under last Labour Government, Gordon Brown sold it.
When are the Government likely to provide time for a debate about the consequences of the agreements made with the Chinese Government this week concerning nuclear power, which are clearly very significant? Not only is the possibility of a new power station at Bradwell, overlooking my constituency, likely to have very detrimental effects on the marine ecology of the Blackwater estuary, but the ownership, construction and control of our critical national infrastructure appears not to have been fully considered by the National Security Council, and no proper assessment has been made of the consequences of these very significant decisions for our national security.
I will make sure that my hon. Friend’s concerns are raised with Ministers. There will be a number of opportunities for these matters to be raised at oral questions and, should he so choose, in debates on upcoming Bills. Clearly, the issue could be looked at in some of the discussions on Treasury matters coming up in the next few days. I will make sure that his concerns are raised and give careful consideration to what he has said.
Following the vote on the Psychoactive Substances Bill this week, I put down the following EDM:
This House believes the Legal Highs Bill is an evidence-free and prejudice-rich example of legislative futility that will increase the deaths and use of drugs it seeks to reduce; notes that the bill’s sponsors ignore the outcomes of similar laws in Ireland and Poland that have increased drugs use and encouraged migration to cocaine and heroin use; believes that legal highs are uniquely lethal compounds that have never been ingested in the past by humankind and emphasizes that when no obvious legislative remedies are available legislators should resist knee-jerk laws that are gratifying to politicians but damaging to the health and well-being of the nation.