The chairman of a Commons committee today denied breaching lobbying rules amid claims that he used his position to help business clients.
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has been accused of breaking parliamentary rules by offering to provide a Commons pass for lobbyists.
The Conservative MP, who is alleged to have lobbied on behalf of Fiji, posed several questions about the country to Parliament this year.
Conservative MP Tim Yeo is foregoing his select committee chair's salary - worth £14,728 a year - after stepping down from the role while he awaits the conclusion of the Standards Commissioner's inquiry.
Tim Yeo has formally stood aside as chairman of an influential House of Commons committee after claims that he used his position to help business clients.
Members on the Energy and Climate Change Committee unanimously accepted the Conservative MP's offer to step down temporarily while the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner carries out an inquiry.
After meeting fellow committee members behind closed doors at the House of Commons, Mr Yeo left before the meeting moved into open session.
Mr Yeo said: "They have unanimously accepted my offer to stand aside for the duration of the inquiry."
The former minister said in a statement last night that he took the decision to ensure the "smooth running" of the committee, and insisted he had not breached Commons rules when he spoke to undercover reporters from the Sunday Times.
The Conservative MP Tim Yeo has said he is to temporarily stand aside as chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee "solely to ensure the smooth running of the committee during the next few weeks" while the Parliamentary Standards Commission investigates lobbying allegations:
I have decided that at the private meeting of the Energy and Climate Change Committee to be held tomorrow morning I will recommend to members of the committee that for the period until the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, to whom I have referred myself today, has completed her investigation I will temporarily stand aside from the chairmanship of the committee.
I am doing so solely to ensure the smooth running of the committee during the next few weeks.
I firmly believe that I have not breached the MPs' Code of Conduct in any respect and therefore await the outcome of the commissioner's investigation with confidence.
In particular I absolutely and unreservedly deny the allegation that I coached a witness with whom I have a business connection before that person gave evidence to the committee.
I do not wish the Commissioner's investigation to be a distraction from the Committee's important work.
I believe that during the past three years the committee has been extremely effective and I want this to continue.
The Conservative MP Tim Yeo has said he intends to temporarily stand aside as chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee while the Parliamentary Standards Commission investigates lobbying allegations against him.
Labour has called on Conservative MP Tim Yeo to stand down as chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee after claims that he breached lobbying rules by allegedly offering to use his position to further business interests.
– shadow cabinet office minister Gareth Thomas
Tim Yeo has the right to defend himself but it is difficult to see how he can continue as chair of the select committee pending investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
If David Cameron won't act then Tim Yeo should take it upon himself to stand down from his post.
Mr Yeo has denied the claims and has referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
The chairman of a powerful Commons committee has been reported to police by political blogger Paul Staines, who runs the Guido Fawkes website.
Mr Staines wrote in a letter to Scotland Yard: "The public interest is, you will no doubt agree, best served by holding elected law-makers to the highest standards.
"I urge you to proceed with an investigation using the evidence available".
Mr Yeo, who chairs the Energy and Climate Change Committee denies the claims and has referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
Eurosceptic Tory backbencher Bernard Jenkin said Brits "cannot afford to be 'little Europeans'" following David Cameron's speech on Britain's future.
Mr Jenkin said: "The Prime Minister has come to Essex to warn that we cannot afford to be 'little Englanders' - and he is right - but we cannot afford to be 'little Europeans' either, but that's where the EU is taking the UK.
"He is right that the UK's prosperity and security depend so much on what happens in the rest of the world, but wrong to suggest that the UK must stay in the EU.
"Unless there is a fundamental change in our relationship with the EU, the UK will simply have to leave the EU, so British business is free to compete".
Prime Minister David Cameron listed "key areas of national weakness compared to the rest of the world" during a speech on Britain's future.
Highlighting issues the Conservatives and Labour are divided on, Mr Cameron said the key areas that need changing are Britain's:
- Debt-fuelled, unbalanced economy
- Bloated welfare system
- Under-performing education system
"Fixing these things are the three key domestic priorities of this Government. And though it's taking time, we are making progress and getting our country into shape", he added.
Prime Minister David Cameron said membership of international organisations such as NATO, the United Nations and the EU is "not a national vanity - it is in our national interest".
Mr Cameron highlighted that Britain's prosperity depends on international ties and global trade.
He said: "This country depends for its living on international ties and global trade. They in turn depend on global stability and security, and on there being global rules to abide by.
"When your prosperity is won in far flung places, when your fortunes are disproportionately affected by what goes on beyond your borders, then your national interest is not just about standing up for yourself - but standing up for what's right.
"Fortune favours Britain when we're ambitious, when we count, we play our part in the world".
David Cameron said there is "much more to do" to equip the British economy for the modern world and show that we are "back in business".
The Prime Minister said:
We want to go further. The UK is already in the Top 10 countries in the world in which to do business.
In the next three years, we want to see Britain rank up there in the Top 5 places in the world to do business and as the No. 1 country in Europe to do business.
This is about sending the message out loud and clear to international investors, to entrepreneurs at home, Britain is not just getting back in the black - we are getting back in business.