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Cash for access: Malcolm Rifkind quits as security chair; UK to ban MPs' outside jobs?

Embroiled in 'cash for access' scandal after being caught in a sting, Conservative Party leader Malcolm Rifkind has resigned as the chairman of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee that supervises the work of spy agencies MI5 and MI6.


Cash for access: Malcolm Rifkind quits as security chair; UK to ban MPs' outside jobs?

London: Embroiled in 'cash for access' scandal after being caught in a sting, Conservative Party leader Malcolm Rifkind has resigned as the chairman of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee that supervises the work of spy agencies MI5 and MI6.

A Conservative MP for Kensington since 1974, Malcolm has also quit as a Member of Parliament, the BBC reported citing a statement from the Downing Street.

Malcolm had earlier denied cash for sting allegations and vowed to “fight all the way”.

Former British foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, along with Labour MP Jack Straw, yesterday sought to defend themselves after they fell for a sting laid by undercover journalists and were caught on tape offering their services to private firms in return for cash.

The sting has shifted the spotlight on MPs grabbing outside jobs and Labour leader Ed Miliband said that his party is mulling to hold a vote on banning MPs from taking outside jobs in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

 

Miliband said that he has also written to PM David Cameron, challenging him to follow Labour’s lead in banning MPs from holding paid directorships or consultancies.

“It’s time to rebuild trust in politics by making sure MPs work for the people who elect them,” Miliband said.

The sensational sting that caused an uproar across Britain, was carried out by the reporters for the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4's Dispatche, who posed as staff of a fake Chinese firm said the BBC.

Earlier, defending himself on  BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Sir Malcolm, sought to justify his remarks saying it was “perfectly acceptable for MPs to have outside interests”.

He added that top professionals would stop entering the Parliament if MPs were banned from having second jobs.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he also vented his frustration over the allegations, saying, “I’m going to be hugely irritated and angry because I’ve got nothing to be embarrassed about”.

He refuted the scandal claims as 'unfounded', saying that he would “fight them with all my strength”.

While Jack Straw, a top Labour party leader, boasted how he worked "under the radar" and used his clout to alter EU rules on behalf of a firm which paid him £60,000 a year; Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a Conservative MP, cribbed that it was 'quite unrealistic' to expect backbenchers with professional backgrounds to 'simply accept a salary of £60,000'.

Both the leaders also revealed their 'rates', with Straw pegging it at £5,000 a day, and Malcolm said he cost "somewhere in the region of £5,000 to £8,000" per day.

In a comment that sounded ridiculous, Malcolm said, "You will be surprised. I have lots of free time".

Both MPs have referred themselves to Parliament's commissioner for standards and an investigation into the matter could take months.

 

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