Villiers cleared in ministerial disclosure inquiry

Northern Ireland Secretary investigated for failure to list 2011 meeting with lobbyist in official register

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has been cleared of charges that she broke ministerial disclosure rules by failing to register a meeting with a lobbyist.

During her time as transport minister, Ms Villiers in 2011 met a lobbyist pitching for planning permission for a controversial rail freight yard on a 400-acre site in Hertfordshire.

The freight yard plan has twice been rejected by the department of communities and local government.

Prompted by a complaint from a fellow Conservative MP three months ago, cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood investigated her failure to list the meeting in an official register.


Mr Heywood cleared her last night, but only because disclosure rules were not tightened up until after her meeting occurred.

Mark Hennessy

Mark Hennessy

Mark Hennessy is Ireland and Britain Editor with The Irish Times