May 'raised objections to Hinkley deal during coalition'

Ex business secretary Sir Vince Cable said that Theresa May had raised objections to the Hinkley Point nuclear power deal during the coalition government.

He said that the PM, who was Home Secretary at the time, was unhappy about the "gung-ho" attitude to Chinese investment played by former chancellor George Osborne.

The claims came after May unexpectedly delayed signing-off on the project.

The former cabinet member said the way the decision to delay was handled was "clumsy", but it was right the situation should be reviewed.

"Certainly, when we were in government, Theresa May was, I think, quite clear she was unhappy about the rather gung-ho approach to Chinese investment that we had, and that George Osborne in particular was promoting and, as I recall, raised objections to Hinkley at that time," Sir Vince told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Critics believe that the government has delayed the plans over investment and security concerns. Credit: ITV News

Critics believe the government has been stung by criticism of the amount of money French energy giant EDF will be paid for generating power from Hinkley - £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity generated.

But on Friday, EDF boss Vincent de Rivaz said in a letter to employees that whilst he was sympathetic to May's decision to delay, he was confident the deal would go ahead.

It is thought there are also security concerns about the role of the Chinese state - which has a one third share in the project - investing in critical infrastructure in the UK.

The delay could put jobs at risk, unions have warned, but the government said it had been agreed with the French.

Speaking to the Today programme, Jason Millett, chief operatin officer at Hinkley contractor Mace said the decision to delay had left people "bewildered".

"I think a lot of people were surprised, and probably a little bit bewildered as well," he said.

"We are a little bit nervous. You have to remember in the business we do, projects do have ups and downs and there are hurdles. We thought the EDF board decision would be the last hurdle, this is a new hurdle that's been introduced."