Yeo ready to fight after lobbying sting
Tim Yeo is fighting to save his position as a key policy influencer on energy issues after a lobbying sting by undercover reporters.
The energy and climate change committee chair, whose extra earnings from the private sector include payments from energy companies, was caught on camera offering to accept money in return for providing an energy firm with access to key figures – including those in government.
Yeo is thought to have referred himself to the parliamentary commissioner on standards. But he has denied breaching the MPs' code of conduct and subsequently told the Sunday Times newspaper journalists, who carried out the sting, that he was "relieved" the offer had been withdrawn.
He was caught on camera boasting to undercover journalists that he could introduce those in the private sector to "almost everyone you need to get hold of in this country" because he could get away with it behind closed doors.
A covert video reveals him explaining that his public activities in favour of a company's interests have to be limited because of suspicions about the link between his commercial ties and his politics.
Yeo then adds: "What I say to people in private is another matter altogether.
"If you want to meet the right people, I can facilitate with introductions and I can use the knowledge I get from what is quite an active network of connections. So really, almost anyone you needed to get hold of in this country, I should be able to help you do that."
He also revealed he had prepared the managing director of GBRailfreight for a grilling before his committee. Yeo was paid a total of £37,489.78 between May 2012 and April 2013 for his work as a non-executive director for GBRailfreight's parent company, Eurotunnel.
Politics.co.uk suggested there were question-marks about Yeo's business links during an interview with the South Suffolk MP last week.
His response was to suggest that the views of other MPs on the energy and climate change committee be canvassed.
"They will have a very clear and objective view about whether they think the interests I have and which I've already declared have influenced anything I've done on the committee," he said.
"I'm pretty confident what the answer would be. I will stand and fall by the judgement of my peers on the committee."
Yeo is the latest casualty in a flurry of lobbying scandals which began nine days ago, when Conservative MP Patrick Mercer resigned the party whip over allegations he had accepted money to lobby for the government of Fiji.
Lord Cunningham and Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate were suspended one week ago while Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird resigned the party whip for offering to act for a foreign energy firm.