Two former, high-profile British Foreign Secretaries, Jack Straw (Labour MP) and Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Conservative MP) have been ‘temporarily’ suspended from their parties after being secretly filmed allegedly offering ‘cash for favours’ to a non-existent Hong Kong-based Chinese communications company PMR, whose representative wanted to ‘hire’ senior British politicians to join their company’s advisory board. In other words, Messrs Straw and Rifkind would allegedly use their positions and contacts to the benefit of PMR, thus acting as lobbyists, which is verboten for sitting MPs. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards will investigate. Mark my words, this is another storm in a teacup, and will soon blow over! Hey, at least former British Prime Minister Tony Blair waited until he stepped down as an MP before lobbying for the world and his granny!
With many of our laws now being made in Brussels, British MPs have a lot more time on their hands than they used to. Lobbying is a way to fill their down time and their pockets. One would have thought both Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind might have made sure PMR was a legit company and not a bogus one before walking into a sting. More fool them, and what a come down for two politicians who in their time held various high offices! (Jack Straw=Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Leader of the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Justice. Malcolm Rifkind=Secretary of State for Scotland, Secretary of State for Transport, Secretary of State for Defence, Foreign Secretary, and until this week, Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee).
The other story yet to break involves Liberal Democrat MP Harold Richard Valarian, who was similarly filmed covertly allegedly offering his lobbying services to SpermFirst, the world’s largest sperm bank. Due to the 2012 change in the sperm donor anonymity law, deposits are down! SpermFirst wanted Mr Valerian to lobby ‘the right people’ so as to reverse the change in the law, reintroducing the right to anonymity. Mr Valerian hoped to make a big splash in the corridors of sperm donor clinics, instead he is likely to be suspended too, but by what? Naturally this story is…bollocks!
**Oops, it appears the first story is not a storm in a teacup after all! Sir Malcolm Rifkind has stated he will step down as an MP at the next election. No fear of his Kensington & Chelsea seat falling into Labour hands! “Too much time on his hands?” Presumably Sir Malcolm had no need to attend weekly constituency surgeries, which he no doubt delegated to his agent, who found himself underemployed too. I don’t suppose there are many poor people with unresolved problems living in Kensington & Chelsea!