Yeo: Quitting to ensure committee's smooth running

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.

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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.