Former MP Tim Yeo awaits result of libel action


Former Tory MP Tim Yeo who claims his reputation was "trashed" by articles in The Sunday Times will hear the result of his libel action today.

Mr Yeo, 70, sued over three reports, in June 2013, which followed a lunch at Nobu restaurant the previous month with two undercover journalists from the Insight team posing as representatives for a solar energy concern in the Far East.

They alleged that Mr Yeo was prepared to, and had offered to, act in a way that was in breach of the Commons code of conduct by acting as a paid parliamentary advocate who would push for new laws to benefit the business of a client for a daily fee of £7,000 and approach ministers, civil servants and other MPs to promote a client's private agenda in return for cash.

They also contained comment to the effect that he had shown willing to abuse his position to further his own financial and business interests.

During the trial at London's High Court last month, Times Newspapers Ltd told Mr Justice Warby that the articles were true, it was fair comment and also responsible journalism on matters of public interest.

Mr Yeo, who represented South Suffolk for more than 30 years until the last election and was chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, was quite unjustifiably tarred with the same brush as another MP who had been exposed a week before, said his lawyers.

They asked the judge to award substantial compensation which would provide public vindication.

But Gavin Millar QC, for the newspaper, said that the publication - which involved subject matter of obvious and significant public interest - complied with the standards of responsible journalism and that Mr Yeo's words and conduct at, before, and after the meeting "amply" justified the truth of the allegation.