Powerhouse minister threatens to quit over Hinkley

Government's announcement of a further halt and review of the Hinkley Point C nuclear project has brought a threat of the resignation of Jim O'Neill, according to reports in the Financial Times. Lord O'Neill, a former chief economist at Goldmans Sachs, was hired by George Osborne as Treasury minister and commercial secretary to develop links with China for attracting investment in infrastructure including the £18bn Hinkley project.

O'Neill is also a leading government minister and advocate of the Northern Powerhouse initiative. According to the FT, he has said he will leave his government position in September unless prime minister Theresa May can convince him why he should stay. Government's new halt to the Hinkley project has added to an uneasy relationship between May and Osborne's economy minister O'Neill, the FT says.

May is reported to be against the idea of the Northern Powerhouse initiative due to its apparent principle of promotion of one area of the country over others.

Writing in a Northern Powerhouse outcomes report published last week, O'Neill said: "These are plans that can truly revitalise the economy of the North by doing something that will leave a lasting impact by pooling the strengths of the cities and towns across the region to make them greater than the sum of their parts. But we have to get it right and we have to be in it for the long haul and that is why I joined government, to be part of something truly visionary."