Liberal Democrat Smith has been unanimously selected by the committee to take on the role in Yeo’s absence.

Tim Yeo agreed to temporarily step aside as chairman of the energy and climate change select committee following allegations that he offered to advise energy companies for cash.

In a video recording, the Conservative MP appeared to tell Sunday Times reporters, posing as representatives of a fabricated solar energy company, that he could help the company influence Parliament.

In a statement, Parliament announced: “The Committee has unanimously accepted the Chair’s recommendation that he absent himself from Committee business for the duration of the investigation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, following his self-referral at the weekend.

“It the interim period the Committee has unanimously agreed that Sir Robert Smith acts as the interim Chair. Mr Tim Yeo will not be drawing a Chair’s salary during this time,” the statement continued.

Yeo announced his stepping down following increasing pressure from Labour MPs. In a statement, he said: “The whole recording would show the context of the conversation and demonstrate clearly that at no stage did I agree or offer to work for the fictitious company these undercover reporters claimed to be representing, still less did I commit to doing so for a day a month as the article claims.”

Leigh Stringer

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