Vernon-Jackson backs Mordaunt in Tory leadership race

Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader of Portsmouth City Council has given his backing to Penny Mordaunt as the Tory leader contest enters its closing stages among the MPs.

Reported in the i, Gerald Vernon-Jackson described Mordaunt as “competent and hard-working” and told the  newspaper that she has been a “pleasure to work with” since she was elected as an MP in 2010.

Inevitably I would like a Prime Minister not to be Conservative, but for a few years there will be – looking at the choices and, from a Portsmouth point of view, Penny would be good.

He continued:

She was the first female Secretary of State for Defence, clearly she was sacked from that because she didn’t get on with Boris… but maybe that’s a badge of honour… [She is ]one of the more responsive MPs, if there’s a problem in the city that I think she can help with then we will text and she’s very responsive.

He pointed to Mordaunt’s action in opposing a proposal by Aquind Ltd to build a cross-Channel power cable through Portsmouth, despite Aquind being a significant contributor to Tory funds.

There’s been lots of stuff over Boris Johnson’s government about people being in hock with Tory party donors, effectively getting access, and this is an example where Penny stood up to not do that and do the exact opposite.

I always want to be fair to people. You have to recognise the good.

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25 Comments

  • This is a peculiar endorsement

    Of particular note, improving cross channel energy transmission networks are actually a good and green thing. Surplus electricity purchased from France would be green (from nuclear) and its use by the UK improves efficiency of the regional network. Opposing it is appalling NIMBYism.

    The latest thing I saw that should cast doubt on Penny Mordaunt is her strong support for diverting precious NHS resources away from effective frontline treatment for patients and towards Homeopathy. Anyone peddling this sort irresponsible pseudoscience should be given an extremely wide berth.

    Furthermore, Mordaunt is continuously being caught out telling different things to different audiences, most ​likely to naively (and unsustainably) improve popularity. I think we’ve had enough of dishonest PMs who are slippery with the truth.

    Her being fired from most of her government jobs might be spun (and believed by the more naive) as a good thing in the context of the Johnson Government. But it really isn’t.

  • “Penny Mordaunt backed by Lib Dem city council leader”…

    Great headline (if you’re a Tory)..Abraham Lincoln’s remark on “Remaining silent ….” comes to mind.

  • Andy Boddington 18th Jul '22 - 1:57am

    The objection is not the the Aquind connector in principle. It is that the route goes through the city of Portsmouth, which is one of the main reasons ministers turned it down.

    https://aquindconsultation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2018/02/17960_AQUIND-Boards-V2.pdf

  • Steve Trevethan 18th Jul '22 - 8:06am

    Why get involved with this charade of deceitful pseudo democracy?

  • Peter Parsons 18th Jul '22 - 11:37am

    Watching her getting called out on the BBC yesterday for claiming that the UK had no veto over Turkey joining the EU suggested she comes from the Johnson school of integrity.

  • Not sure this ‘endorsement’ will help…..a bit like Truss being endorsed by Nadine Dorries and Rees-Mogg!

  • @ Martin I agree. Why should an experienced senior Lib Dem get involved in an unpleasant domestic dispute in the Tory Party ?

    Plus the BBC News today states in a fact check : “Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt has again repeated a false claim she made during the 2016 referendum campaign that the UK wouldn’t have been able to block Turkey from joining the EU. That claim from Ms Mordaunt was not true”.

  • @Andy Boddington thanks for the link, confirming what I interpreted the article to be saying. Given the sites they discounted (specifically Hayling Island) and the reasons, I wonder why they even considered landfall at Eastney rather than Oyster Estate (still goes through Portsmouth) – surely 2~3miles of undersea cable installation isn’t that expensive; but then we saw a similar level of stupidity in the selection of the route for HS2…

  • @Andy. Yes I understood the objection to the cross channel connector was not the principal of it, but as you say, pure NIMBYism. That’s why I called it out as appalling NIMBYism.

    Frustrating energy infrastructure investment and development only serves to increase consumers’ energy bills and in this case, CO2 emissions. To avoid being utterly appalled and demoralised, I have refrained from finding out what exactly Portsmouth Lib Dems’ position on this is (though I can guess). I prefer the blissful ignorance that the origin of this obstruction came just from Penny Mordaunt and her downstream ministerial connections

  • @James Pugh – “That’s why I called it out as appalling NIMBYism.”
    No that was appalling design – obvious from the brochure and a look at a large-scale map of the area, so it deserved to be thrown out. Suspect those responsible had little exposure to undersea cables and their landing…

    Plus the proposed route will add years of disruption to the people of Portsmouth and to the delivery schedule as it weaves it way through the town.

  • @Ronald

    On what grounds are you saying it’s bad design? Are you privy to all the technical information used by the company in drawing up its plan; submarine terrain, rock formations, slope, depth, landing site topography, ownership, etc etc

    And your second point about disruption is my point. NIMBYism

    This connector could supply and additional 5% of clean energy to our grid. That’s a reduction in electricity bills and more clean energy. But NIMBYism won and we’ll all be poorer for it

  • Jenny Barnes 19th Jul '22 - 9:53am

    seems to me they would have been better off landing the UK end on Thorney Island, but there’s little real information in the glossy web pages as to why they decided on Eastney.

  • Peter Parsons 18th Jul ’22 – 11:37am:

    Watching her getting called out on the BBC yesterday for claiming that the UK had no veto over Turkey joining the EU…

    In context it was the correct answer. It would have been no more realistic for the UK to have vetoed Turkey joining the EU than for Turkey to have vetoed Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Legally possible in theory, but in practice, that’s not how such clubs work.

    At the time, in 2016, Turkey had agreed the EU Acquis and claimed to be working towards adopting it. So it looked very likely that Turkey would become a member – not least because David Cameron had pledged the UK’s support. It wasn’t until 24th. November 2016 that the EU suspended the process of joining, because Turkey had been moving away from EU law rather than towards it. In 2017 and 2018 Turkey introduced new laws moving it even further away. Turkey is still named as a candidate country.

  • Nonconformistradical 19th Jul '22 - 1:22pm

    “Plus the proposed route will add years of disruption to the people of Portsmouth and to the delivery schedule as it weaves it way through the town.”
    I agree with Roland. Looking at the map – the land-based part of the route to Eastney appears to run for very roughly 12 km through an urban area. That seems ridiculous.

    @James Pugh
    “This connector could supply and additional 5% of clean energy to our grid. That’s a reduction in electricity bills and more clean energy. ”
    No problem with that

    “But NIMBYism won and we’ll all be poorer for it”
    So a better plan needs to be devised – which I would think should have one objective of minimising the length of the land part of the route or avoiding so much urban disruption.

    If they insist on using a substation so far from the coast they need a different land route. Does it have to be an underground duct? Would it be possible to have an above ground duct alongside the A3 motorway for much of the route for example? I’m just speculating saying this – I have no expert knowledge.

  • @Nonconformistradical

    Since I think you admit you are not privy to the likely extremely complex technical details for the reasoning behind the proposed route, how are you in a position to say other routes are better? Just looking at a map and thinking “this looks better to me” isn’t a good reason.

    The opposition and frustration to this is pure NIMBYism. Forcing the company to dance around petty bureaucracy to the indulgence of NIMBYs only adds costs to the project, costs that then get added to people’s energy bills down the line. As I’ve said before, most Lib Dem members are economically very comfortable such that the barrage of additional costs that are added to everyone’s daily lives through the frustration of local and national infrastructure deployment, doesn’t hurt them very much in the relative sense. But adding them all up, it does real harm to the less well off in society

  • @James Pugh
    >“On what grounds are you saying it’s bad design? …
    As I said a look at the brochure the developer prepared, with the intention of selling their proposal to the public!

    But I suspect you are also on shaky ground – the subtext I took from your nimby argument was: cross channel interconnects good therefore any proposal for their implementation is good therefore I don’t actually need to apply critical thinking to the proposal put before me…

  • Nonconformistradical 19th Jul '22 - 8:23pm

    @James Pugh
    “how are you in a position to say other routes are better?”

    I did NOT say that. I’m just opening up other possibilities which could be explored. It seems to me that the proposed land route is likely to cause extensive and lengthy disruption in urban areas. It’s a factor which should be taken into account.

    I have no problem whatsoever with the concept.

  • @Roland

    I’m saying we are in a cost of living crisis, with spiraling energy costs (likely to persist for years) and a need to reduce carbon emissions. Improving electricity grid distribution from regional producers increases the supply of green energy to the UK. Obstructing that grid infrastructure deployment because of outright NIMBYism and NIMBYism dressed as expertise (in reality armchair expertise) does nothing except make our energy cost crisis and carbon emissions worse, and everyone poorer (the poorest in society the most).

  • James Fowler 20th Jul '22 - 10:21am

    @ James Pugh.

    I don’t know whether this project was a good one or bad one, and have no way of telling.

    Where I would agree with you in general is that we are governed indirectly by the opinions of a curious coalition of people who are far too insecure, and people who are far too secure. They’ve made a common cause out of battening everything down to try and hold on to what they have in the face of a world that has either taken a lot away from them, or, counter-intuitively, heavily rewarded them. In the former case I’m sympathetic, but from the latter I sense the defensiveness of people who, deep down, know they sit on undeserved gains.

  • Nonconformistradical 20th Jul '22 - 11:25am

    @James Pugh
    “I’m saying we are in a cost of living crisis, with spiraling energy costs (likely to persist for years) and a need to reduce carbon emissions.”

    Indeed – I agree with you – although I would like to see a much greater emphasis on reducing energy demands rather than getting the same amount of energy from elsewhere. An obvious way of helping the less well off with their energy costs is to help them to use less energy and an obvious way of doing that is to get to grips with insulating our poorly insulated homes.

    “Improving electricity grid distribution from regional producers increases the supply of green energy to the UK.”

    But doesn’t increase the overall supply of green energy does it? It just transfers energy from France to England in this case.

    “Obstructing that grid infrastructure deployment because of outright NIMBYism and NIMBYism dressed as expertise (in reality armchair expertise)”

    Isn’t it time you came up with evidence of NIMBYisn=m in this case? As opposed to reasonable concerns about the land route Aquind want?

  • @James Pugh
    I’m saying we are in a cost of living crisis, with spiraling energy costs (likely to persist for years) and a need to reduce carbon emissions.
    Yes we are,
    However, it seems from the brochure the construction of this interconnect is expected to take circa 4 years between planning permission being granted and the interconnect going live; so it is going to have zero impact on the immediate crisis and winter 2022.

    >Obstructing that grid infrastructure deployment because of outright NIMBYism and NIMBYism dressed as expertise
    So asking questions, is NIMBYism…

    By the way, it was not NIMBYism that has caused HS2 to fail to connect to pre-existing transport infrastructure and for the budget to skyrocket. All these are due to those that signed off the original proposed route and costings without questioning. If the government had been more open to question, I suspect whilst the cost wouldn’t be much different, we would actually have a line that would deliver some benefits…

  • James Pugh 17th Jul ’22 – 7:39pm:
    Of particular note, improving cross channel energy transmission networks are actually a good and green thing.

    Just as improving cross-Baltic energy transmission networks has been good for Germany? Let’s not forget that France threatened to cut off Jersey’s electricity supply because they refused to licence a few dozen French fishermen who’d made fraudulent applications.

    Surplus electricity purchased from France would be green (from nuclear)…

    For the next few decades it will mostly be gas generated as that’s their marginal source (that which would be knocked off first if demand was lower). Their nuclear power stations have an average age of 37 years with most over their 30 year design life. Currently, 12 are out of action so only around half their electricity is now nuclear…

    ‘France’s nuclear meltdown has big implications for Britain’ [January 2022]:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/01/18/frances-nuclear-meltdown-has-big-implications-britain/

    France’s nuclear industry is in slow-motion meltdown. A fifth of the country’s 56 reactors are currently shut, mostly because of corrosion and welding problems in the safety injection system. […]

    The French power network is firing up its old coal plants. These emit 62 times as much CO2.

    French nuclear output has fallen by 28pc since 2015 and is now at the lowest level in 30 years.

    France National Grid Status:
    https://gridwatch.org.uk/france/

    The UK currently exports electricity to France, generated by gas (and sometimes coal) — our marginal source…

    GB Fuel type power generation production:
    https://gridwatch.co.uk/

  • Nonconformistradical 19th Jul ’22 – 1:22pm:
    If they insist on using a substation so far from the coast they need a different land route.

    For 2GW (5% of total UK demand) it will need to be connected to a main substation on the 400kV grid. Any such substations are likely to be sited well inland behind coastal population centres as is the case with Lovedean Sub.

    Does it have to be an underground duct?

    Overhead on pylons would be much cheaper. It typically costs around ten times more to underground high-voltage cables. I expect there would be more protests against pylons though.

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