UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, has officially announced that the Conservative Party will be suspending Sir Malcolm Rifkind after a sting operation showed him engaging in a ‘cash-for-access‘ scandal, the BBC reports. Along with former foreign secretary Jack Straw, Rifkind has been secretly filmed offering his services to a private client, breaching parliamentary code of conduct.
According to The Guardian, a conversation was recorded where Rifkind said he would answer questions on behalf of a private client without revealing their identity, which breaches the code, specifically paragraph 96.
“A member may speak freely on matters which relate to the affairs and interests of a body (or individual) from which he or she receives a financial benefit, provided the benefit is properly registered and declared.”
David Cameron – who recently came under fire after claiming that overweight people should have their benefits cut – confirmed Rifkind’s suspension and said that a short disciplinary will be carried out in regards to the cash-for-access scheme.
“These are very serious matters. We have, rightly, very clear rules in this country which is MPs being paid to lobby – that is not acceptable, that is not allowed under the rules. It is right that Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind have referred themselves to the parliamentary commissioner, to have themselves investigated.”
“It is also right that, in both cases, while that happens the party whip should be suspended and that is what will happen with Sir Malcolm Rifkind as well as with Jack Straw. Obviously in Sir Malcolm’s case he is still a candidate at the next election so there will be an immediate disciplinary enquiry by the Conservative party to look at this case.”
If the inquiry finds against Sir Malcolm Rifkind, he will no longer be allowed to stand at this year’s general election as the Conservative candidate for Kensington and Chelsea.
The announcement was made after Channel 4 aired its Dispatches documentary, which showed hidden footage of both Rifkind and Straw offering their professional services to a fictitious Chinese client in exchange for thousands of pounds.
Rifkind announced that there was an investigation within the Conservative Party on BBC2’s Daily Politics, though he did not go into any detail.
“If it is that, for a short period of time, then we must let that take its course. That is all I am going to comment at the moment.”
The Channel 4 documentary, entitled, Politicians For Hire – which shows Rifkind and Straw accepting the cash-for-access offer – will air tonight on British television at 8 p.m.