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.
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.
– shadow cabinet office minister Gareth Thomas
Mr Yeo has denied the claims and has referred himself to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
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.
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.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has told ITV News that there were "problems" with parliamentarians having "improper relationships" with companies, after the Sunday Times claimed that Energy Select Committee Chairman Tim Yeo coached a paying client on how to influence his committee.
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".
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.