'Revolving door' Yeo, Tim
By Gerri Peev
MPs are plotting to overthrow the Conservative chairman of the energy and climate change committee because of his links to the green power industry.
Tory MP Tim Yeo rakes in almost £140,000 a year from the controversial industry while juggling his role as chairman of the select committee.
The former environment minister, who is also president of the Renewable Energy Association, has criticised cuts in taxpayer-funded subsidies to the green energy industry he champions.
Controversial: MP Tim Yeo earns almost £140,000 from green energy firms while also sitting as chairman of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee
Mr Yeo lists just over £139,450 in payments linked to green companies in the
latest MPs’ register of interests.
Furious MPs are now trying to depose him as chairman of the select committee.
One insider told the Mail: ‘We are seeking advice on how this can be done as select committee chairmen are now elected. But there is obviously a potential conflict of interest here.’
The process can be difficult, but some are hoping Mr Yeo will be embarrassed
into standing down voluntarily.
MPs are concerned that Mr Yeo earns so much money from energy companies while
also being asked to hold the industry to account in his role as chairman of the
powerful select committee.
This is on top of his salary of more than £65,000, plus a top-up of nearly £15,000 for his role as a select committee chairman.
Busy man: As well as working with three green energy companies, Mr Yeo is also a non-executive director with the Eurotunnel group
In total, his pay is worth more than £220,000 a year – more in line with a
chief executive than a parliamentarian.
The MP is chairman of a biofuel company, TMO Renewables. He worked 197 hours
for the firm, earning more than £68,000 in a year.
He also spent 141 hours working for AFC Energy, a Surrey-based firm
developing alkaline fuel cell technology. He was paid £55,450.
Mr Yeo chairs meetings of an environmentally friendly car firm, Eco City
Vehicles. For just 39 hours of work, he earned more than £16,000.
Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris suggested on his Twitter page that Mr Yeo may have a potential conflict of interest
The Suffolk South MP also works with the Eurotunnel group. He is a
non-executive director and attends meetings of the Channel Tunnel’s safety and
Last month, Mr Yeo accused the Treasury of sacrificing green energy plans to
placate Tory backbenchers opposing plans to concrete over the countryside with
wind farms and pylons.
Mr Yeo told the Guardian: ‘They are working particularly to target some
Conservative backbenchers, pursuing a policy designed to prove that they are not
going to get into so-called costly green initiatives. It is extraordinary.’
The MP also attacked the Treasury’s record on the environment, saying: ‘The
Treasury has never been signed up to the green agenda, but this has got much
more serious in the past year.
'Their interventions on the energy bill, and clear interference over ROCs
[renewable energy subsidies], have shown this – it all adds up to a clear sign
that they are not supportive of progress on the low-carbon energy sector.’
Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris hinted at a potential conflict of interest on
Twitter, saying: ‘Unsurprised by Tim Yeo’s comments. I’m sure he’s genuinely
worried about the subsidies 4 green jobs, esp as he holds so many of them
Select committee chairmen are allowed to earn money from external work but
Parliament’s Standards and Privileges Committee has said in its report on pay
that ‘in some cases of conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, this may mean
that a chairman must either divest himself or herself of an interest, or stand
Mr Yeo said: ‘Not only have my interests been correctly registered at all
times but... they were listed in full on the ballot paper circulated to all MPs
when I was elected chair of the committee in June 2010.
‘Furthermore, I’ve held the views I’ve expressed regularly on renewable energy consistently and strongly since 1993, as many publicly available documents over the last 19 years show.’