Theresa Villiers has apologised after it was revealed that she had shares valued at more than £70,000 in Shell while she was environment secretary.

The MP for Chipping Barnet admitted her shareholding in the oil and gas company in her latest update to the register of members’ financial interests.

On July 17, Ms Villiers’ entry said she had shareholdings worth more than £70,000 in Shell from February 23, 2018.

The 55-year-old was in Boris Johnson’s cabinet as environment secretary from July 2019 until February 2020.

MPs are required to register any change to their registrable interests within 28 days.

A list of ministers’ interests from November 2019 did not include a mention of the shares for Ms Villiers.

A spokesperson for Ms Villiers said that it had not occurred to her that the shareholdings would reach the threshold for declaration, and that she has never been influenced by them.

They added: “Ms Villiers deeply regrets her failure to monitor the value of shareholdings and has offered her sincere apologies.”

Dan Tomlinson, Labour’s candidate for Chipping Barnet at the next general election, has hit out following the disclosure.

He said: “This revelation cuts to the heart of the problem with the Conservative party – a lack of transparency, no clarity on whose interests they serve, and a sense that they just don’t think they have to play by the rules.”

Ms Villiers’ spokesperson said: “These shares are part of [a] portfolio which is professionally managed for Ms Villiers and for which she has never taken day-to-day investment decisions.

“It did not occur to her that any single shareholding would reach the threshold for declaration, but a legacy received in 2018 caused that to happen.

“As soon as she realised this, she alerted the Registrar of Members Interests and the Standards Commissioner. She takes full responsibility for the mistake.

“She accepts that it should never have happened, and that she should have kept track of the additions to her investment portfolio.

“She is taking steps to ensure that this never happens again."

As regards Ministerial interests, they added: “When she was appointed as Secretary of State, Ms Villiers disclosed to Defra that she had a portfolio of shares which was professionally managed for her and over which she did not take investment decisions.

“She offered to place this in a blind trust. The Prime Minister’s ethics adviser said that this step was unnecessary because the portfolio was managed for her and she did not take investment decisions.

“So Ministerial Code requirements were complied with.”

Some reporting by PA.