Sir Malcolm Rifkind cleared over 'cash-for-access' allegation


Sir Malcolm Rifkind has been cleared of any wrongdoing after he was implicated in a “cash-for-access” row earlier this year.

The former Foreign Secretary was secretly filmed appearing to offer his services to a private firm for cash.

But Parliament’s standards watchdog said the recording, carried out by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme and reporters from the Telegraph, had been “distorted”.

Sir Malcolm said the investigation had been a “painful period”.

“I thank the standards commissioner and the standards committee for their very full examination of the allegations by Channel 4 Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph, and their conclusion that these allegations had no substance and were unjustified.”

He said the programme-makers and newspaper must “recognise the judgment of the standards commissioner and the standards committee that they were responsible for ‘distortion’ and for misleading the public in making these allegations.

“It has been for me, for my family and for my former parliamentary staff a painful period which we can now put behind us.

“My public life has continued over the last seven months with the support of colleagues. I am looking forward to the years ahead in very good spirits.”

The programme had also claimed to have caught out former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Both men denied they had offered access to foreign leaders and other dignitaries in return for money and referred themselves to the watchdog.

Kathryn Hudson, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, found that there had been no breach in the code of conduct on lobbying. Mr Straw had made a minor misuse of parliamentary resources during the filming, she said.

Mr Straw said he was “delighted” to have been cleared.

Following the revelations in February, both men decided to step down from Parliament at May’s general election. It is believed the controversy stopped Mr Straw from receiving a peerage.

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