Conservative MP Peter Lilley failed to disclose a financial interest in Asian oil company Tethys Petroleum during two parliamentary debates on the Climate Change Act and energy prices, profits and poverty.
The self-described ‘global lukewarmist’ is a non-executive director of Tethys Petroleum. He argues that because the company operates solely in Central Asia his position at the company is not relevant to discussions concerning the UK.
A report issued by the House of Commons Committee on Standards on 15 January 2015 stated that “Mr Lilley’s interest in Tethys Petroleum might reasonably be thought by others to have influenced his speeches in the two debates”.
Despite this, the committee did not find Lilley in breach of the code of conduct because it “was not clear at the time he considered the matter”. The report found that because Lilley’s firm does not work in the UK there was no direct financial conflict of interest.
The decision was reached after a lengthy exchange between Lilley and the committee beginning in early 2014.
The original complaint regarding Lilley’s oil interest – for which he earns £47,000 a year – came after he made speeches in September and November 2013 attacking renewable energy and promoting fossil fuels.
Lilley has since updated his Register entry relating to Tethys Petroleum to make clear that it operates exclusively in Central Asia. The committee is now working to ensure more clarity on the code of conduct in the future.
Photo: Policy Exchange via Wikimedia Commons