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Yeo says 'I did not coach client' amid lobby row

The chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Committee has referred himself to the parliamentary standards commissioner, amid allegations that he used his position to help business clients.

The newspaper's footage showed Mr Yeo seemingly suggesting that he had coached a paying client on how to influence the committee. Tim Yeo said today:

The person concerned is John Smith, Managing Director of GB Rail Freight, a subsidiary of Groupe Eurotunnel SA, of which I have been a director and shareholder since 2007.

I travelled with John Smith and two other people in the cab of a freight train for three hours on May 16, five days before he appeared before my Committee.

I spoke briefly to Mr Smith about his forthcoming appearance in front of the Committee to explain that because of the business connection between us I would not take part in questioning him. I did not want him to think that my silence indicated a lack of interest in what he was saying.

I did not 'coach' John Smith on this or any other occasion. He is not a 'paying client' as the Sunday Times alleges but a business colleague.

I am confident that I have acted in accordance with the MPs Code of Conduct at all times.

Tim Yeo denies breaching lobbying rules

Energy and Climate Committee chairman Tim Yeo has denied breaching lobbying rules amid allegations that he used his position to help business clients, after a sting by Sunday Times journalists. 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.

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Pickles: We have a process of dealing with lobby claims

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. Credit: ITV News

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told ITV News that "there would be a process" in investigating claims that the Energy Select Committee Chairman Tim Yeo coached a paying client on how to influence his committee.

Mr Pickles said: "We have a process of dealing with allegations of this process, and normally we wait until that has been concluded".

Rail firm denies being 'coached' by Tim Yeo

A company accused in a new set of lobbying allegations has denied being "coached" by an influential Tory MP.

An investigation by undercover reporters for the Sunday Times alleges that Tim Yeo, chair of the Commons energy committee, claimed he had 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

Yeo 'totally rejects' allegations of lobbying rules breach

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.

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Reporter: Yeo cancels TV interview after claims

Tim Yeo has pulled out of his scheduled appearance on the Sky News political programme Murnaghan, according to reporter Darren McCaffrey.

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins said that the MP had also cancelled an interview on the BBC programme Sunday Politics.

Tim Yeo: Veteran politician and businessman

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

Tim Yeo is a senior backbencher and MP for South Suffolk. He served as Environment Minister under John Major and is the current chair of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.

Before entering parliament in 1983, Yeo was a businessman who held board positions for a banking company and an engineering firm and was chief executive of the charity now known as Scope.

Yeo claims follow Patrick Mercer resignation

Patrick Mercer resigned from his party over lobbying claims. Credit: PA

The allegations against Tim Yeo come just a week after another Conservative MP, the backbencher Patrick Mercer (pictured), was forced to resign the party whip after being caught up in a another set of lobbying claims.

As a result of those claims, the Speaker, John Bercow, reportedly suspended more than 80 House of Commons passes and the government promised to bring forward a bill to introduce a statutory register of political lobbyists.

Sunday Times claims about conduct of Tim Yeo

The Sunday Times claims the Energy Select Committee Chairman Tim Yeo admitted in secret filming that he coached a paying client on how to influence his committee.

This footage was secretly filmed by reporters working for the Sunday Times:

(This footage has been removed because of legal restrictions.)

Mr Yeo vigorously denies any wrongdoing and says he now plans to refer himself to the Parliamentary Standards Committee.

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