This part of the judgement amused Guido:
- One strand in the concerns that had been publicly expressed was whether Parliamentarians’ performance of their public duties might be influenced by their private outside interests. Mr Yeo’s name featured in some publications on this topic.
(1) On 10 and 11 December 2012 the political blog “Guido Fawkes” carried items headed “Yeo’s Lump for Dump” and “Why is Tim Yeo Backing Fracking?”, suggesting that Mr Yeo had conflicts between his private business interests and his role as ECCSC Chair.(2) 23 December 2012 an article by Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph questioned whether it was right for Mr Yeo to chair both the ECCSC and TMO. Mr Booker implied a conflict of interest, given that the ECCSC saw one of its chief roles as encouraging spending on renewables, and Mr Yeo had “financial interests in several firms that might be among the beneficiaries of such spending”.
(3) On 30 December 2013 Guido Fawkes carried an item headed “Review of 2012: Taxi for Tim Yeo”, identifying him as “a serious contender for villain of the year”. The item suggested conflicts between his Committee chairmanship and his role with Eco City Vehicles, and that he had actively lobbied for policies favourable to TMO.
(4) On 13 January 2013 the Mail on Sunday ran a report alleging that “A former Cabinet Minister [Lord Deben] who plays a key role in deciding the future size of energy bills is chairman of a company that stands to benefit directly from his Government work”. The article attributed to Graham Stringer MP the observation that “the whole field of energy and environmental policy seemed to be dominated by individuals who had commercial interests – for example, Tim Yeo, the Select Committee Chairman, is a director of several renewable energy firms”. Declaring interests was not enough, suggested Mr Stringer.
The origins of the articles
- On 10 February 2013 Jonathan Leake of The Sunday Times sent Mr Calvert and Ms Blake an email headed “Tim Yeo is looking quite villainous” incorporating “cuttings” of the Guido Fawkes reports, and other online media reports relating to Mr Yeo, including the Sunday Telegraph and Mail On Sunday articles, that I have quoted above. Mr Leake was passing this information on to the Insight team by way of a suggestion for a possible investigation.
It seems he would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky bloggers…