After cigarette packs and alcohol prices, David Cameron now faces questions about Lynton Crosby and fracking

Prime Minister is under pressure over his strategist’s potential conflict of interest

Deputy Political Editor

David Cameron was accused tonight of bowing to pressure from lobbyists such as the Tory election strategist Lynton Crosby over a decision to give tax breaks for fracking.

The Government today announced it would cut the taxes paid by fracking companies on their profits to less than half the levy faced by gas and oil producers.

The Independent this week detailed the work that Mr Crosby's lobbying firm, Crosby Textor, does on behalf of companies promoting the controversial method of extracting shale gas.

Mr Cameron has insisted he has never been "lobbied" by his Australian adviser on any policy issue, although he has stopped short of denying they have discussed such subjects.

He has faced repeated calls to explain Mr Crosby's links to the drinks and tobacco industries following the Government decisions to abandon plans for minimum alcohol pricing and plain packaging for cigarettes.

Labour tonight added fracking to the list following the announcement of the low tax regime to be faced by shale extraction companies.

Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: "David Cameron's failure to come clean over his relationship with Lynton Crosby has created a situation where his decisions are open to question.

"Whether it is tobacco or alcohol and now fracking, we need to know what role lobbying has played in deciding what our Prime Minister does."

Crosby Textor represents the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, which campaigns for fracking. Its members include Dart Energy, a company which holds permits for sites in Scotland.

It also says it holds a "substantial acreage position" in the Bowland Shale under Lancashire and Yorkshire, which is thought to be the world's largest shale gas field.

A spokesman for the campaign group Frack Off said: "Crosby's links with the fracking industry shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Corporations have and always will lobby governments.

"You cannot see where government stops and the corporate interests begin. When it comes to an issue like fracking, where human health and our shared environment is being put at risk, we have to question whether those in power are even capable of putting the interests of the general public first."

Mr Cameron has in recent days betrayed his irritation with the continuing focus by the media on his election strategist's business interests and has claimed Labour is stoking up the subject as a distraction from its own problems with trade union influence.

Asked about Mr Crosby, the Prime Minister told Channel 4: "I have been very careful about what I have said which is to say he hasn't lobbied me on any of these issues."

It was reported yesterday that Mr Crosby is expected to become a full-time Conservative adviser in January and stop acting for other clients. He would then focus entirely on Tory election strategy running up to the general election in May 2015, according to senior party sources.

The move would help relieve pressure facing Mr Crosby and his employers over potential conflicts of interests. But critics will argue that he should put his other commercial clients on hold immediately.

Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments