Straw and Rifkind deny ‘cash for access’ wrongdoing
TWO former foreign secretaries have been secretly filmed apparently offering their services to a private company for thousands of pounds.
Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind are the subject of the allegations, arising from a joint investigation by the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
The documentary makers said reporters posed as staff of a fake Chinese firm.
The MPs have referred themselves to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. Both deny any wrongdoing.
It is claimed that Mr Straw was recorded describing how he operated “under the radar” and had used his influence to change EU rules on behalf of a firm which paid him £60,000 a year.
On the subject of payment, Mr Straw allegedly said: “So normally, if I’m doing a speech or something, it’s £5,000 a day, that’s what I charge.”
Sir Malcolm is reported to have claimed he could arrange “useful access” to every British ambassador in the world.
The Conservative MP for Kensington and chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee was recorded saying: “I am self-employed – so nobody pays me a salary. I have to earn my income”
Labour said it was aware of the “disturbing allegations” against Mr Straw, who had “agreed the best course of action is to suspend himself from the Parliamentary Labour Party”.
Sir Malcolm told the BBC: “Channel 4 have confirmed in writing that I made clear that I would not assist any company to acquire information that was not already public.
“Trying to influence a decision or to receive privileged information would be improper.”
Asked if he thought the allegations had any bearing on his role as security committee chairman, he said: “None whatsoever.”
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