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Ex-foreign secretaries facing cash-for-service scandal

Jack Straw (R) and Sir Malcolm Rifkind (file photo)

Two former British foreign secretaries are accused of offering the use of their influence in return for cash.

Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind were secretly filmed as part of a joint investigation by the Telegraph and Channel 4.

They have reportedly offered political services to a private company for thousands of pounds. The documentary makers said the reporters posed as the staff of a fake Chinese firm. Straw was recorded asking for 5,000 pounds a day for using his influence to help the company.

Rifkind also claimed that he could arrange useful access to every British ambassador in the world. Both MPs have referred themselves to the Parliament's commissioner for standards, but they deny any wrongdoing.

Straw was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party last night and this morning Sir Malcolm Rifkind has had the Tory whip removed.

Now William Spring, London-based political commentator, believes the latest scandal “reveals … that certain MPs are increasingly bought by lobbying groups and companies and indeed tribunes in the case of the Labour party.”

“But what I genuinely feel is that we’ve got a parliament of bought men, that are bought by you know these various lobby groups,” Spring told Press TV’s UK Desk on Monday.

He added, “Here in London… even at the council level, individual counselors are bought by lobby groups. For example… a lobby group called Sovereign which is taking over the Labour party has just appointed a new councilor here in Harringey and indeed these organizations aren’t responsive to public opinion and the connection between the MP and the constituents is disappearing.”


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