British Energy calls in Liddell for nuclear counsel

British Energy has enlisted former energy minister Helen Liddell to provide strategic advice on issues surrounding nuclear power’s role in government energy policy.

Liddell said she would help the firm ‘refine ideas and point out the nature of questions it is likely to face [from policy makers]’. She added: ‘If we are to address climate-change issues, nuclear [energy] needs to play a big part.’

Liddell’s appointment has been cleared by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. She will not lobby on behalf of the company nor advise over the restructure of its massive debt.

Liddell, who is the MP for Airdrie and Shotts, was minister for energy and competitiveness in Europe from 1999 to 2001. British Energy said Liddell’s consultancy fee for the current financial year would be between £10,000 and £15,000.

The Prime Minister has nominated Liddell to become the next British high commissioner to Australia to succeed Sir Alistair Goodlad, should Labour win the next general election.

Earlier this year, British Energy dropped Hill & Knowlton as its retained PA adviser after 14 years. It then pulled out of a deal to hand the contract to Bell Pottinger Public Affairs after it discovered the director assigned to the account, Neil Stockley, had in the past put his name to anti-nuclear policy papers.

Head of external affairs Carl Gibson said Liddell’s appointment would be ‘more valuable than an agency telling me I should be involved in the debate’.

Last week, MP Llew Smith tabled an Early Day Motion slamming the fees consultants stand to pocket from British Energy in bonuses, including more than £1m to Financial Dynamics.

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