The Parliamentary standards commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, is expected to launch an investigation today into an allegation that the chairman of a powerful Commons committee used his position to help business colleagues.
Tim Yeo, the Tory chairman of the Energy and Climate Change committee confirmed today that he wants Ms Hudson to look into the allegations “thoroughly.” He is adamant that he has not broken Commons rules .
Undercover reports posing as representatives of a solar energy company approached Mr Yeo to try to persuade to accept a £7,000 a day commission to act as their advocate. Mr Yeo did not accept any money from them, and told them he could not speak out publicly for them because “people will say he’s saying this because of his commercial interest.”
But he added: “What I say to people in private is another matter altogether.”
He was also filmed apparently saying that he had coached a witness who was also a business colleague on how to answer questions when appearing in front of his committee. “I was able to tell him in advance what he should say,” he said.
Mr Yeo has not spoken publicly about the allegations, and cancelled two scheduled television appearances yesterday. But in a written statement sent to The Independent and others, he has insisted: “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. […]
“An allegation that I “coached a paying client” before that person gave evidence to my Committee…is totally untrue.”