Lobbygate Claims Another MP

Tim Yeo has had to step aside from his chairmanship of the Energy and Climate Change Committee having been caught up in the Lobbygate scandal.

Lobbygate, the latest scam to be pulled on MPs in order to bring about constitutional change in Britain, now involves several MPs and Peers who have attempted to take payments from journalists posing as lobbyists in a so-called sting operation. 

Calling Lobbygate a scam may seem like an apology for bad behaviour. However, David Cameron knew before the 2010 election that this was “the next big scandal waiting to happen". Why, then, has nothing been done to put a stop to the practice?

The fact is, that just as with MPs expenses and Leveson, bad behaviour has been ignored, and in some cases even encouraged, in order to provide an excuse to push through new rules for which there were already rules or laws in place.

In the case of Tim Yeo, in return for payment, he apparently intended to provide advice to energy companies, including GB Rail Freight, a subsidiary of Eurotunnel, of which Yeo is a director.

Yeo denies any wrongdoing. In a statement issued on Sunday, Yeo said: "I did not 'coach' John Smith on this or any other occasion. He is not a 'paying client' as the Sunday Times alleges, but a business colleague. Like many business executives giving evidence to select committees he sought advice from the public affairs company retained for the purpose by GB Rail Freight."

How many jobs does one man need? How can an MP represent his constituents when he has vested interests in other areas. How much time does he have for constituents when he has directorships elsewhere?

These are all valid questions, and they should be asked. Instead of creating new registers and new rules, simply replace them all with a single rule: while you are an MP, no moonlighting. Problem solved.

In the meantime, yesterday Tim Yeo made what has turned out to be his last comment for the Energy and Climate Change Committee, when he criticised proposals for the Severn Barrage, saying that it was not yet considered environmentally acceptable.

The Severn Barrage proposal would see a fixed electricity generating barrage build, capable of providing 5% of the UK's electricity needs, equivilent to 16,000 wind turbines or so.

But because of lobbying from the RSPB, WWF, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Angling Trust and others, government refuses to get behind the project.

Apparently these so-called environmental organisations are quite happy to see the UK's power needs met through the use of fracking.