Mulholland, the Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West, has been a vocal critic of the appointment of Newby and in December called for a parliamentary debate on his position.
That request was granted yesterday (10 January) by the Backbench Business Committee with the view of a debate taking place on both Newby and the statutory pubs code on 26 January.
Newby has been dogged ever since his appointment as adjudicator by accusations of being conflicted, due to his 20 years spent working for pub property agency, Fleurets, a company that he still holds a financial interest in. Despite the cross-party Business Select Committee recommending that Newby be replaced in July, the Secretary of State for Business, Greg Clark MP, backed Newby last November.
When requesting the debate, Mulholland told parliament: "The Secretary of State for Business was sent proof that Paul Newby, the adjudicator, has existing loans and shares dependent on income from the pubcos he is supposed to adjudicate. And yet it took four months for the Secretary of State to respond to the BIS Select Committee’s recommendation that the appointment be rescinded, simply saying he was not going to look at the matter. That’s not good enough. People are being denied the right to the market-rent-only (MRO) option that this house voted for and Mr Newby is doing nothing about it."
The debate will still need to go through the routine procedure of being approved for backbench business by the Government, but Mulholland seems confident that the debate will go ahead in the main chamber of the House of Commons, saying on Twitter that he was "delighted" by the request being granted.