Kensington MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind has been stripped of his powers after an undercover investigation by Channel 4 uncovered another ‘cash for access’ scandal.
His suspension from the Conservatives comes after he insisted his innocence and pledged to fight against the ‘unfounded’ allegations on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning.
The former foreign secretary spoke publicly for the first time since becoming embroiled in controversy following the investigation by The Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
“These are very serious allegations, they are unfounded and I’m going to fight them with all my strength,” said Sir Malcolm, who has reported himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in search of a proper investigation.
Sir Malcolm and fellow MP Jack Straw were secretly filmed offering their services to a private fictitious Chinese company in return for payments.
Both politicians are former Foreign Secretaries, Sir Malcolm in John Mayor’s government and Jack Straw, who has also had the whip withdrawn from him by his party, under Tony Blair.
But Sir Malcolm, who is the chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, contested his comments during the secret filming have been misconstrued.
He was grateful for the Today Programme for giving him the opportunity to offer his version of events and told the show he never accepted the cash offer despite the Channel 4 clip indicating he did.
“Channel 4 are very good in providing selective quotations out of context,” he said.
However he said he regrets his comments regarding his salary where he was filmed stating he is self-employed and so nobody pays him a salary.
Sir Malcolm, who is paid a MP salary of £67,000, admitted it was a ‘silly thing to say’ and said the comments have been taken out of context as he was referring to his business interests.
The Dispatches documentary, titled Politicians for Hire, will air tonight and Sir Malcolm said he will not be embarrassed but ‘hugely irritated and angry’ when watching it.
Picture courtesy of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with thanks