Sunday 18 February 2018

Tory MP in lobbying scandal vows to clear name

Tim Yeo
Tim Yeo

James Tapsfield London

The chairman of a powerful committee in Britain's House of Commons has denied breaching lobbying rules amid allegations that he used his position to help business clients.

Tim Yeo, right, who heads the Energy and Climate Change Committee, says he "totally rejects" claims made after a sting by 'Sunday Times' journalists.

The Tory MP said he had referred himself to the parliamentary standards commissioner to clear his name.

The reporters approached Mr Yeo posing as representatives of a solar energy company, offering to hire him as a paid advocate to push for new laws to boost its business for a fee of £7,000 (€8,200) a day.

He apparently said he could not speak out publicly for the firm because "people will say he's saying this because of his commercial interest".

However, the former minister reportedly assured them: "What I say to people in private is another matter altogether."

The newspaper's footage showed Mr Yeo seemingly suggesting that he had coached a paying client on how to influence the committee. "I was able to tell him in advance what he should say," he said.

The House of Commons code of conduct forbids members from acting as paid advocates.

Mr Yeo issued a detailed statement rebutting the claims.

"I totally reject these allegations," he said.

"The 'Sunday Times' has chosen to quote very selectively from a recording obtained clandestinely during a conversation of nearly an hour-and-a-half."

Mr Yeo added the allegation that he coached a client was "totally untrue".

Irish Independent

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