Peter Lilley

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<youtube size="medium" align="right" caption="Peter Lilley speech to Tory conference 1992 - 'I have a little list'">FOx8q3eGq3g</Youtube> Peter Lilley has been the Conservative Party member of Parliament (MP) for Hitchin and Harpenden since 1997. He was the MP for St Albans from 1983 to 1997.


Business career

  • 1966-1972 Economic adviser in 'developing countries'
  • 1972-1986 Greenwell Montagu Stockbrokers, oil investment department
  • 1986-1987 Greenwell Montagu Stockbrokers, Director of oil investment
  • 2002-2009 Advisory Board, Greenwell Montagu Stockbrokers

He is also a Non-executive Director of Melchior Japan Investment Trust plc, Tethys Petroleum Ltd and IDOX plc.[1]

Political career

  • 1984-1987 Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson
  • 1987-1989 Financial Secretary to the Treasury
  • 1990-1992 Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
  • 1992-1997 Secretary of State for Social Security

Select committees

Pro-fracking but not pro-tax breaks for fracking

FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

No interests in fracking companies in the UK

In a House of Commons debate on shale gas in July 2013 Lilley said in response to Caroline Lucas:

The hon. Lady asked Members to draw attention to their interests. I invite everyone to look at my interests, as declared in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. They will find that I have no interest in fracking or in any oil and gas companies in this country. Over my lifetime, I have been — indeed, I still am — involved in an oil company in central Asia and I was involved in analysing oil companies and predicting energy prices for 20 years, when I had a proper job before coming to this place, so she may try to insinuate that that somehow makes me too well disposed to the oil and gas industry. She may therefore be surprised that, as the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr Whitehead) will confirm, I was the only member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee who criticised, as she does, the suggested special tax breaks for fracking. On the basis of my knowledge of the oil and gas industry, I think that they are probably unnecessary, and we should not give away unnecessary tax breaks; although if they are necessary, that would be fair enough.
I want to draw Members attention to one interest that is not declared in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I probably share this interest with all other Members, although too many ignore it. It is my interest in my 70,000 constituents who want their heating bills kept as low as possible, my interest in the people in this country getting jobs and my interest in reviving the manufacturing industry in this country and providing it with fuel that is as plentiful and cheap as possible.
I have great respect for the hon. Lady and those who, like her, simply want to keep fossil fuels in the ground, although if that was my objective, I would start by keeping coal in the ground rather than gas, which produces only half or less of the carbon dioxide emissions of coal. I do not support such a policy because, probably like her, I take as given the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summary of the science, I also, unlike her, accept its summary of the economics of taking action to prevent global warming. It has concluded that, in relation to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, it could not identify “an emissions pathway or stabilisation level where benefits exceed costs.”
Unless and until we can find a pathway or a stabilisation level for CO2 that will produce greater benefits than its costs, we should not set about impoverishing this generation in the vague hope that we may make some generation in the future richer. [2]

'Fabricated scares' on fracking akin to MMR scares

In all probability, we will see a shale gas revolution worldwide that will probably keep gas prices low. It is certainly likely to prevent them going up, and it may even bring them down as it has done in the States.
When pessimism about reserves and prices fail, some people resort to fabricated scares, which are as irresponsible and as unjustified as the MMR scares, which stopped people from taking advantage of vaccination. I hope that we will not allow similar scares to stop us taking advantage in this country of the potential resources that exist beneath our soil.
The letter from the people in Balcombe from which the hon. Lady quoted says that fracking is considered to be an uncertain and risky technology. It is far from being uncertain and risky. The first gas well was fracked on 17 March 1949. Since then 2 million wells have been fracked in the United States, and 200,000 in the last year, without anyone being poisoned from contaminated water, or any buildings or people suffering damage from minuscule seismic tremors.
As far as water scares are concerned, the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering dismissed fears about water contamination. They concluded that any health, safety and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced.[2]

On 16 January 2014 Lilley once again raised the issue in another Commons debate on shale gas.

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that nearly 200 wells in this country and over 2 million wells worldwide have used hydraulic fracturing technology and not a single person has been poisoned by contaminated sub-surface water supplies and not a single building has been damaged by the resultant minuscule earth tremors?

To which energy and business minister Michael Fallon carefully replied:

I can certainly confirm that hydraulic fracturing is a well-established technique. It has been used the world over. We also have experience of onshore drilling in this country for nearly 100 years now, since the end of the first world war, and hydraulic fracturing will be permitted only if it is safe not only for those involved but for the environment and the local community. [3]

Oil company interests

Tethys Petroleum

Lilley is vice-chairman of Tethys Petroleum Ltd, a Cayman Islands-based oil and gas company with drilling operations in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In the register of MPs' financial interests, Lilley has routinely declared that he receives a quarterly payment from Tethys for 'attending meetings and advising on business developments'.

According to the Guardian in 2012:

Lilley has also been granted share options valued by the company at the time they were granted at $428,399, in addition to other share options that have not been given a clear financial valuation. Under parliament's code of conduct, he is not required to disclose details about the precise value or volume of any shareholding.
Tethys' financial public filing reports show that Lilley was granted $107,290 worth of share options in 2011, $194,350 in 2010, $57,040 in 2009, and $69,719 in 2008. In 2007, Lilley was granted 150,000 share options, but a financial valuation was not expressed in the documents. [4]

Lilley in a letter however pointed out that options were not worth as much as the Guardian had estimated, and questioned how his interest in Tethys, a Central Asian company, would influence how he performed his duties on the select committee monitoring the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. [5]

In January 2015, Lilley came under criticism for failing to formally disclose his financial interest in the oil company during two parliamentary debates on the climate change act, arguing that because the company operates solely in Asia his position at the company is not relevant to discussions concerning the UK. He then incurred an investigation by the house of commons committee on standards that concluded 'Mr Lilley’s interest in Tethys Petroleum might reasonably be thought by others to have influenced his speeches in the two debates'. Despite this, the committee did not find Lilley's activities to be in breach of the parliamentary code of conduct. [6]

MPs Register of interests 2014

Tethys Petroleum Limited (non-executive). Address: University House, 11-13 Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX; registered at 89 Nexus Way, Camana Bay, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Gas and oil exploration and producing company. (Updated 6 January 2014)
  • 1 August 2013, quarterly payment of £11,750 for attending meetings and advising on business development. Hours: 30 hrs. (Registered 29 August 2013)
  • 1 October 2013, quarterly payment of £11,750 for attending meetings and advising on business development. Hours: 30 hrs. (Registered 4 December 2013)
  • 2 January 2014, quarterly payment of £11,750 for attending meetings and advising on business development. Hours: 30 hrs. (Registered 29 January 2014)
  • 1 April 2014, quarterly payment of £11,750 for attending meetings and advising on business development. Hours: 30 hrs. (Registered 3 April 2014)

Facor Energy

Lilley is an unpaid director of Facor Energy Limited (Guernsey), a shell company which is not yet trading, established by Ferro Alloys Corporation Limited. Address: Suite 401, Plot 5, Jasola, New Delhi, 110025, India. (Registered 9 September 2013)

Other business interests

Member of the the Advisory Board of YiMei Capital, which is engaged in asset management in China for local and international investors. Address: 719, West Office, Shanghai Centre, 1376 West Nanjing Road, Shanghai, P.R.C. Commitment to attend 2 or 3 meetings each year, at least one in China, and to respond to requests for advice. Remuneration: £30,000 pa. (Registered 12 December 2013)


Bow Group | Conservative Party | Melchior Japan Investment Trust plc, Tethys Petroleum Limited and IDOX

All-Party Parliamentary Groups


  1. About Peter, Peter Lilley,, Accessed 28-October-2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Westminster Hall, Thursday 18 July 2013 [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair, Backbench business: UK Shale Gas], acc 5 December 2013
  3. Shale Gas Energy and Climate Change, House of Commons debate on 16 Jan 2014
  4. Leo Hickman, MP Peter Lilley has received more than $400,000 in oil company share options,, Tuesday 20 November 2012, acc 17 Feb 2014
  5. My options in Tethys Petroleum are not 'worth at least $400,000', The Guardian, Tuesday 11 December 2012, acc 17 Feb 2014
  6. Kyla Mandel, Tory keeps schtum about oil investment during parliamentary climate change debate. Guess what happened next..., DESMOGUK, 17 January 2015, accessed 12 December 2015.