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Energy committee replaces chairman caught up in lobbying scandal with Lib Dem with shares in Shell and a donation from BP

  • Tory MP Tim Yeo stood aside as chairman of the Energy and Climate Change select committee after being embroiled in a sleaze scandal
  • He ‘totally rejects’ allegations he breached lobbying rules
  • Interim chairman Sir Robert Smith has declared interests in oil firms

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By Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor

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 The scandal-hit Commons energy committee whose chairman stepped aside in a lobbying row has elected an acting leader who has shares in oil firm BP.

Lib Dem MP Sir Robert Smith is to take over the energy and climate change select committee while former Tory minister Tim Yeo is investigated over claims he helped a firm he worked for prepare to appear before his committee.

But as the row over potential conflicts of interest in politics grows, it emerged Sir Robert has shares in Shell and last year received hospitality from oil company BP.

Both were declared fully in the official register of members interests, where Sir Robert also reveals shareholdings in pharmaceuticals firm Glaxsmithkline, life assurance company Legal and General and mineral extraction business Rio Tinto.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing, but the latest sleaze scandal has raised questions about the role of MPs on powerful select committees who have interests in companies and industries potentially affected by their work.

There has also been renewed focus on Peter Lilley, another member of the committee, who earned £47,000 last year as a non-executive director of Tethys Petroleum Limited and £22,462 advising Ferro Alloys Corporation Limited on power generation.

Greenpeace’s executive director John Sauven said: ‘MPs like Tim Yeo, Robert Smith and Peter Lilley – who hold a powerful influence over our country’s energy policy – need to ensure they don’t face questions over conflicts of interests.

‘It’s time for MPs to be more transparent about their commercial ties, put the public interest first, and get big money out of our politics. Only that way will trust be restored in our political system.’

Mr Yeo last night quit his chairmanship of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee after he was plunged into a sleaze scandal.

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