MP Greg Mulholland, chair of the Parliamentary Save the Pub group, questioned Clark on the issue in the House of Commons Yesterday (13 September).
New evidence claim
Mulholland asked: “Following the recommendation of the [Business Innovation and Skills] Select Committee to remove Paul Newby as pubs adjudicator, new evidence has emerged that shows that he failed to properly declare his interests and also misled the select committee.
“So far, he has refused to resign. Will the secretary of state now restore confidence in that post by sacking him?”
The British Pub Confederation has claimed to have new evidence, which the group has sent to Clark, regarding Newby's appearance at a committee earlier this year.
And the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy responded to Mulholland's question in parliament: “My understanding is that the appointment followed a proper process.
“That is what I understand to have taken place, but I will look at the suggestions that the honourable gentleman has just raised.”
Conflict of interest
This July, following a Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee meeting, chair Iain Wright MP urged the Government to replace Paul Newby, citing his perceived conflict of interest and inability to command the trust of pub tenants.
He wrote to Clark, calling on him to reopen the appointment process and choose a candidate "who can attract the confidence of tenants as well as pub companies".
Newby’s appointment has been under intense scrutiny after campaigners complained about his time working with pubcos at his former job with Fleurets.
Newby was appointed by Clark’s predecessor in March with responsibility for enforcing the pubs code. The adjudicator will be responsible for resolving disputes between tenants and pubcos, and investigating abuses of the code.
Newby has rejected claims his work with Fleurets constitutes a conflict with interest.