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Yeo quits as committee chair

Tim Yeo has formally stood down as chairman of an influential House of Commons committee after claims that he used his position to help business clients.

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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.

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