Theresa May travels to G20, but PM is expected to keep China waiting on Hinkley Point decision

William Turvill
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British Government Signs A Deal For New Nuclear Power Plant
The government is due to make a decision on Hinkley Point this autumn (Source: Getty)

Theresa May is heading to the G20 summit in China for her first international conference as Prime Minister.

May’s appearance in China comes at a time when the country is awaiting news from the UK government on the Hinkley Point nuclear power station.

May is expected to use the conference to reassure world leaders that the UK remains a “dependable” diplomatic and trading partner after June’s Brexit vote.

Despite a planned meeting with the host nation’s president Xi Jinping, the Prime Minister is not expected to make any announcements about Hinkley, which is backed by China’s state-owned nuclear firm.

Read more: Britain should not chase Chinese investment at the expense of its security

A UK source told Press Association: “We have set out the government’s approach to Hinkley, we are currently considering all the component parts of that… We have said we will make a decision this month, that remains the plan. I don't expect one in the next few days and I don’t expect our Chinese or French partners are expecting one in the next few days.”

Hinkley Point looked set for the go-ahead after EDF’s board approved funding at the end of July.

But in a surprise move, the UK government – which May had just taken charge of as PM – then said it would be reviewing the project and expected to make a decision in the early autumn.

It was later alleged by Sir Vince Cable, the former Liberal Democrat business secretary who worked in the coalition government with May, that the new PM has a “general prejudice” against Chinese investment and that she had “raised objection” for Hinkley Point in the past.

Read more: EDF board members file legal challenge to Hinkley Point

In early August, China’s ambassador to the UK warned that relations between the two countries were at a “crucial historical juncture”.

Liu Xiaoming said he hoped the UK “will keep its door open to China” and “continue to support Hinkley Point – and come to a decision as soon as possible so that the project can proceed smoothly”.

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