Lib Dem MP Robert Smith is taking over from Tim Yeo as chair of parliament’s energy and climate change committee (ECCC) while the Tory backbencher deals with allegations about lobbying which he strongly denies.
Sir Robert Smith was backed for the role of interim Chair unanimously by MPs on the cross-party committee yesterday.
In a statement, the ECCC said: “The Committee expressed confidence in Mr Yeo’s chairmanship of the Committee but accepted the recommendation in order to ensure the continued effective and evidence-based work of the Committee… Mr Tim Yeo will not be drawing a Chair’s salary during this time.”
The Lib Dem was recently involved in a spot of verbal jousting with Yeo in the Commons, asking why he didn’t push fellow Tory Chancellor George Osborne towards the decarbonisation target, according to the website TheyWorkForYou.
Smith prodded him on 4th June: “Given that the hon. Gentleman has chosen to reduce this issue to a political knockabout, it would be interesting to ask him, if he is so committed to his amendment, what meetings he has sought with the Treasury to discuss it.”
In reply, Yeo said: “I frequently pass the time of day in the warmest possible terms with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer when we are voting in the same Lobby, which from time to time we are.”
Smith takes over while Yeo challenges claims he had a conflict of interest. However the Aberdeenshire MP has registered interests himself in British oil giant Shell.
In July last year he was given a ticket to London 2012 Men’s team Gymnastics by another oil firm BP which included a coach transfer and meals at the Royal Opera House worth a total of £750.
The Scottish Lib Dem has voted “very strongly” for laws to stop climate change, according to TheyWorkForYou.
According to his website Sir Robert Smith was manager of his family estate until he entered Parliament on his second attempt in 1997, winning the new seat from the Conservatives.
Currently he is Joint Vice Chair of the UK Offshore Oil & Gas Industry Group and during the 1997 Parliament he was a member of the Transport & the Environment team for two years.