The adjudicator’s role is to enforce the code of conduct governing the relationship between pub companies and individual pub tenants.
Mr Newby is a chartered surveyor and a director of the company Fleurets, which specialises in leisure properties, including pubs.
Greg Mulholland, a Liberal Democrat MP who has been championing greater regulation of the relationship between tenants and pub companies, warned Fleurets’ previous work with pubcos meant the Government was “in danger of making a laughing stock of the adjudicator’s role”.
Speaking in the Commons this morning, Mr Mulholland said: “How can he possibly be trusted to be impartial given his salary has been dependent for 20 years on those he must now adjudicate and potentially impose financial penalties on?
“There is a clear conflict of interest that appears to render this process at the very least extremely dubious... How can tenants have any confidence in this appointment?”
He added: “This is a very worrying appointment that once again demonstrates, I’m afraid, either complicity in pubco influence or an utter lack of understanding and knowledge.”
BIS Minister Anna Soubry fiercely defended the appointment, accusing Mr Mulholland of unleashing an “absolutely disgraceful set of slurs”.
“Mr Newby hasn’t just represented, as I said, Mr Speaker, pub trade companies, but also tenants,” she said.
“He has 30 years of experience effectively representing both sides. He is an experienced arbitrator.”
She also said Mr Mulholland “doesn’t understand how professionals work”.
Labour said the warnings were legitimate and argued “the minister must be aware of this very real concern”.