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Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers: Radlett rail freight meeting with lobbyist 'was no conflict of interest'
Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers has defended her decision not to declare a meeting with an influential lobbyist and former university friend.
The Conservative politician met Simon Hoare, a chief lobbyist for developer Helioslough, in August 2011, weeks before the Secretary of State was due to reassess plans for a major rail freight depot in Hertfordshire.
At the time Ms Villiers was the Minister for Transport.
St Albans MP Anne Main wrote to Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Haywood earlier this month asking for an investigation into whether or not Ms Villiers’ failure to declare the potential conflict of interest amounted to a breach of the ministerial code.
A spokesman for Theresa Villiers said in a statement this afternoon: “Any rail minister will have matters relating to rail freight raised with them from time to time.
“The conversation with Simon Hoare was published to Parliament in an answer to a parliamentary question.
“Nothing from that conversation was passed on to ministerial colleagues. The meeting therefore had no impact on consideration of the Radlett planning application.
“These matters were all thoroughly ventilated in a series of correspondence with Mrs Main well over a year ago.”
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