New incumbent Chris Huhne says no public money will be spent on plants, but they will probably still go ahead

The new energy secretary Chris Huhne has said that although no public money will be spent on nuclear power plants, they will still be built.

Nuclear energy has been one of the main points splitting the Tories and Lib Dems but Huhne has said that the plants nuclear power plants “will, in all probability go ahead”.

Under the terms of the coalition deal, Liberal Democrat MPs can abstain in any Commons votes on nuclear power but will not be able to bring down the government over it in a confidence vote.

On BBC Radio 4 Today's programme Huhne said: “There is absolutely no disagreement between us on the key principle that there will be no public subsidy. If it turns out that - for the first time in decades - a consortium is prepared to build a nuclear power station without public subsidy, then that will, in all probability, go ahead.”

He added that there were still “a lot of ifs there”.