Villiers cleared of wrongdoing

Published Wednesday, 18 December 2013
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Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has been cleared of any wrongdoing over an undeclared lunch with a lobbyist while she was UK Transport Minister.

Villiers cleared of wrongdoing
The Downing Street inquiry cleared Ms Villiers of any wrongdoing. (© Getty)

In a letter the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said that Ms Villiers had insisted that the meeting in 2011 with Simon Hoare, lobbyist with Helioslough developers was "a personal engagement with a long-standing friend".

Conservative MP Anne Main had complained to Number 10 that the pair had discussed a controversial planning application by the company for a rail freight depot on green belt land in her St Albans constituency.

After reviewing the incident, Sir Jeremy said he believed that Ms Villiers did not take any action to influence the transport or communities departments' decision.

"There is no evidence that decisions were affected by lobbying on behalf of Helioslough or other parties," he said.

But Ms Main said that he had failed to address the provision in the code governing ministers' behaviour which requires them to avoid conflicts of interest.

Helioslough applied for planning permission for a £400m international rail freight exchange on 300 acres of green belt between St Albans in Hertfordshire and London.

The proposal for five warehouses served by railway sidings was first lodged in 2006 and was blocked. Following a judicial review, the application is again under consideration.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Amazed in Belfast wrote (120 days ago):
What twaddle! I saw her blowing her nose too and she didn't say excuse me to a cow in the nearby field. Have they nothing better to talk about.
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