Tory minister Theresa Villiers cleared of lobbyist lunch furore

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers did not break ministerial code due to an undeclared lunch with rail freight developer Helioslough's chief lobbyist Simon Hoare during her time as a transport minister, according to a Downing Street investigation.

She had confronted allegations that she failed to declare the meeting with Hoare, whose company was seeking to build a £400m freight railway depot in the Hertfordshire green belt at the time, and that the lunch included a discussion about the controversial planning application for the site, which Villiers denied despite a complaint from fellow Conservative MP Anne Main.

In a letter to Main, Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said there was "no evidence that decisions were affected by lobbying on behalf of Helioslough or other parties".

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