Links between minister and adviser investigated

  • @oliver_wright

David Cameron asked the Cabinet Secretary to investigate whether an energy consultant had improperly been given work by the Government because of her previous links to the Climate Change mininster, Greg Barker.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act yesterday revealed that Miriam Maes had introduced Mr Barker to her clients from Air Products, a multinational energy supplier at the same time as she was carrying out consultancy work for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

She also asked him to intervene when her publicly-funded contract was not renewed. Asked about whether the revelation represented a potential conflict of interest at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron said he had asked the Cabinet Secretary to investigate last year – but had been assured that there had been no impropriety.

"I have consulted the Cabinet Secretary over this issue, the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Climate Change has been consulted on this issue and I don't see the need for a further inquiry on that basis," he told MPs.

He said the "key point" was that "the individual in question was hired by civil servants after a properly run competition".

The Prime Minister's spokesman added that Mr Cameron had full confidence in Mr Barker who had worked with Ms Maes previously when the Conservatives were in opposition.