Aquind decision highlights growing scrutiny of Russian donors

I noted earlier this week that the opposition was attempting to make an issue of Russian donations to the Conservative Party in Monday's parliamentary debate on foreign political interference.

Labour attempted this previously in the wake of the Skripal affair, but with the party's Atlanticist right in the ascendant, Boris Johnson weakened and a crisis in Ukraine, it may get more traction than it did four years ago.

Thursday's decision by business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to reject the Aquind cross-channel electricity interconnector could be one sign of this.

Here's what Labour MP Liam Byrne wrote about a key backer of the project on Monday:

Then there’s Alexander Temerko, who operated at the top of the Russian arms industry and had connections high up in the Kremlin before moving to the UK in 2005. OpenDemocracy reported that he donated more than £1.2m to the Tories between 2012 and 2019.

The timing could be coincidental or a straw in the wind. The possibility that NATO states may impose sanctions has sparked an ill-tempered debate among countries with competing interests.

Much of the focus has been on European reliance on Russian gas, but several French foreign policy specialists have pointed to the centrality of financial flows into London.






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