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.
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.
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.
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 environment committee.
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 himself.’
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 aside’.
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.’
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