1. ITV Report

Veteran Tory Tim Yeo denies breaching lobby rules

Tim Yeo pictured during a speech to the Conservative Party conference. Photo:

The chairman of a powerful Commons committee today denied breaching lobbying rules amid allegations that he offered to use his position to further business interests.

Tim Yeo, who heads the Energy and Climate Change Committee, said 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.

Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

The Sunday Times claims Mr Yeo admitted in secret filming that he coached a paying client on how to influence his committee.

The paper also says he discussed a fee of £7,000 a day to act as a "paid advocate" for a energy company.

Mr Yeo says he did not accept the offer because he realised it was not permitted under House of Commons rules.

In a statement, Mr Yeo said:

I want to make clear that I totally reject these allegations.

The Sunday Times has chosen to quote very selectively from a recording obtained clandestinely during a conversation of nearly an hour and a half in a restaurant with two undercover reporters who purported to be representing a client from South Korea.

My lawyer requested the whole recording from which these extracts were obtained but this has not been given.

The whole recording would show the context of the conversation and demonstrate clearly that at no stage did I agree or offer to work for the fictitious company these undercover reporters claimed to be representing, still less did I commit to doing so for a day a month as the article claims.

The journalists claim that Mr Yeo reportedly privately advised the director of GB Rail freight on what to say when they gave evidence to the same committee.

But a spokesperson for GB Rail freight denied the suggestion, saying:

At the evidence session of the DECC committee, GBRf made the same arguments that we consistently make in submissions, articles and on the record time and again.

GBRf were not coached ahead of the DECC Committee hearing.

– GB RAIL FREIGHT SPOKESPERSON

Business Secretary Vince Cable told ITV News that there were "problems" with parliamentarians having "improper relationships" with companies:

He said transparency and clarity were the only long-term answers to prevent future lobbying scandals.