Tim Yeo

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Tim Yeo
Tim Yeo MP (15216846249).jpg
Yeo speaking at a Policy Exchange debate, September 2014
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment and Transport
In office
15 March 2004 – 6 May 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Theresa May
Succeeded by Position abolished
Shadow Secretary of State for Public Services, Health and Education
In office
11 November 2003 – 15 March 2004
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by New position
Succeeded by Position abolished
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
In office
23 July 2002 – 11 November 2003
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by John Whittingdale
Succeeded by James Arbuthnot (Trade)
Stephen O'Brien (Industry)
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
18 September 2001 – 23 July 2002
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by Peter Ainsworth
Succeeded by John Whittingdale
Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
December 1997 – 18 September 2001
Leader William Hague
Preceded by David Curry
Succeeded by Peter Ainsworth as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Member of Parliament
for South Suffolk
In office
9 June 1983 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by To be elected
Majority 8,689 (16.9%)
Personal details
Born (1945-03-20) 20 March 1945 (age 70)
Lewisham, London, England
Nationality English
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Diane Helen Pickard
Alma mater Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Website www.timyeo.org.uk

Timothy Stephen Kenneth Yeo (born 20 March 1945) is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of South Suffolk. He was deselected for the 2015 UK General Election in a secret ballot of South Suffolk Conservative Party members on 29 November 2013.[1] Yeo will remain the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of South Suffolk until the May 2015 election.

Yeo served as the Minister for the Environment and Countryside from 1992 to 1993 in the government of Prime Minister John Major. He also served in the Shadow Cabinet from 2001 to 2005 under Conservative Party leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard.

Early life[edit]

Yeo was educated at Charterhouse School, before going on to Emmanuel College at Cambridge University where he read History and graduated in 1968. At university he "did no work, got a poor degree and adored it".[2]

From 1970-73, Yeo was Assistant Treasurer of Bankers Trust Company. Then, from 1975–86, he was a Director of Worcester Engineering Company. From 1980-83, he was Chief Executive of the Spastics Society (now known as Scope).

The Tadworth Court Children's Hospital was founded in 1984 under his chairmanship after Great Ormond Street Hospital had decided to relinquish the building in 1982. He resigned in the early nineties because of his parliamentary workload and was succeeded by Archie Norman.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Yeo contested Bedwellty in the February 1974 General Election before being elected as MP for South Suffolk in 1983.

In 1988, Yeo became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd.

In 1992, Yeo was appointed Minister for the Environment and Countryside in John Major's government, but was forced to resign after a scandal involving his so-called "love child" with a Conservative councillor, Julia Stent,[4] who was born on 8 July 1993. Three years earlier, Yeo had said to the branch of Relate in his constituency, "It is in everyone's interests to reduce broken families and the number of single parents. I have seen from my own constituency the consequences of marital breakdown."[5] The story broke on Boxing Day during a quiet news period and intense coverage was given to the scandal. Yeo resigned on 5 January 1994.

In Opposition[edit]

After the Conservative Party's defeat in the 1997 General Election, the party's new leader William Hague appointed Yeo as a spokesman on the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Yeo was a member of Iain Duncan Smith's Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. In 2003, Yeo was made Shadow Secretary for Education and Health[6] by the party's new leader, Michael Howard, with responsibility for the party's policy on both schools and hospitals. In 2004, Howard made Yeo the Shadow Secretary for the Environment and Transport. During this period, his Chief of Staff was Douglas Hurd's son, Nick Hurd (who became the MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner at the 2005 general election).

Yeo resigned from the shadow cabinet shortly after the 2005 election, saying he wished to be free to play a role in rethinking the Conservative Party's future. On 27 August, he ruled himself out of the ensuing party leadership election following Howard's resignation, announcing his backing for former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke. The contest was won by the then-Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills, David Cameron.

Committee Chair[edit]

As Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Yeo has been an influential voice on energy policy. Despite his committee releasing a report sceptical of hydraulic fracturing in the United Kingdom, Yeo has revised his personal opinion and supports the use of the technique in the UK.

In 2012, he announced that he now supported the proposal for a third runway at Heathrow Airport, and that his long-held "environmental objections" to expansion were "disappearing".[7]

In 2013, he stated that the government reaching an agreement over nuclear power expansion was a "matter of great urgency", and warned that Britain could run out of energy if negotiations were not concluded quickly.[8]

On 9 June 2013, The Sunday Times alleged, citing video evidence of a conversation with the MP, that he had helped "coach" a solar energy company executive for an appearance before his parliamentary committee; the parent company pays Yeo. The MP has referred himself to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, and said that he intends to fight the claims made against him.[9]

On 9 June 2013 he temporarily "stepped aside" as the chair of the committee.[10] The Liberal Democrat Sir Robert Smith replaced him on an interim basis.[11]

Business Interests[edit]

Yeo is chairman of Univent plc, Chairman of TMO Renewables and non-executive chairman of Eco City Vehicles plc and AFC Energy plc.

Yeo and his wife Diane are sole directors of Locana Corporation (London) Ltd., Anacol Holdings Ltd. and General Securities Register Ltd.

Yeo is also a director of ITI Energy Ltd.

He writes articles for Golf Weekly and Country Life magazines and, occasionally, the Financial Times.

He occupies a seat on the board of Eurotunnel.[2] In June 2013, Yeo denied allegations in The Sunday Times. The paper had released a video in which Yeo claimed to have told a representative of GB Railfreight (a subsidiary of Eurotunnel) how to act in front of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, saying he was "able to tell him in advance what to say". Yeo had earlier excused himself from the committee, on the grounds that he might be "biased"[12] if he questioned an employee of a company for which he himself worked.

Political funding[edit]

Yeo has received £67,290 in remunerations from corporate donors for work done for AFC Energy PLC, a developer of alkaline fuel cells focused on industrial application. From other corporate donors, he has received £372,419 in other remunerations, from companies including TMO Renewables Limited, Groupe Eurotunnel SA, and Eco City Vehicles.[13]

Personal life[edit]

He married Diane Helen Pickard on 30 March 1970 in Greenwich. They have a son, the portrait painter Jonathan Yeo, and a daughter.

Yeo also has two more daughters from outside his marriage. He fathered his first daughter in 1967 when he was still a student at Cambridge University and put her up for adoption.[14] Another daughter, Claudia, was born in 1993 through his extra-marital affair with Julia Stent.[15]


External links[edit]

Offices held[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Constituency Created
Member of Parliament for South Suffolk
Succeeded by
To be elected
Political offices
Preceded by
Liam Fox
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
2003 – 2004
Succeeded by
Andrew Lansley