Sir Malcolm Rifkind is to step down as MP and has also resigned as chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee after an undercover sting.
The announcement comes after the Tory former foreign secretary denied any wrongdoing after being secretly filmed discussing potentially being hired by a private company to provide “useful access” to British ambassadors.
He will no longer be MP for Kensington after the election on 7 May.
Sir Malcolm said today: “This is entirely my personal decision. I have had no such requests from my constituency association but I believe that it is the right and proper action to take.
“As regards the allegations of Channel 4 and the Daily Telegraph I find them contemptible and will not comment further at this time.
“Although I will retire from Parliament I shall continue my public and political life and am much looking forward to doing so over the years to come.”
In the footage from Daily Telegraph and Channel 4 Dispatches reporters, Sir Malcolm and Labour MP Jack Straw appeared to offer to use their positions and experience to benefit the fictitious Hong Kong-based firm in exchange for thousands of pounds.
In pictures: Embarrassing political exits
In pictures: Embarrassing political exits
1/9 Mark Harper
Immigration minister Mark Harper resigned after emerged his cleaner was in the country illegally. Mr Harper quit after he discovered his cleaner, whom he employed at his London flat for seven years, did not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
2/9 Mark Menzies
Former Conservative MP Mark Menzies resigned as a ministerial aide following allegations made by a Brazilian rent boy in March. The MP for Fylde in Lancashire resigned his position as the parliamentary private secretary (PPS) amid allegations which appeared in a tabloid newspaper, which he strenuously denied.
3/9 Liam Fox
Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox resigned in 2011 over his working relationship with his friend Adam Werritty, which saw the Tory MP ordered to repay £3,000 of expenses for allowing Mr Werritty to live rent-free at his taxpayer-funded second home for a year. Mr Fox faced further embarrassment when it was revealed successfully claimed 3p of taxpayers’ cash for a car journey of fewer than 100 metres.
4/9 Denis MacShane
Labour MP for Rotherham Denis MacShane resigned over what a parliamentary enquiry described as “the gravest case of misconduct” ever to be investigated at the time. The ex-Europe Minister was jailed for six months after making false expense claims of nearly £13,000. The former MP previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for “research and translation” services. MacShane, 65, used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.
5/9 Patrick Mercer
Patrick Mercer resigned the Tory whip in May last year after he was filmed by the BBC's 'Panorama' apparently agreeing to lobby on behalf of Fiji for a pro-Fijian cross-party committee.
6/9 Michael Martin
Former Labour party MP Michael Martin became the first Commons Speaker to be forced out of office for more than 300 years following criticism of his handling of the MP’s expenses scandal of 2009.
7/9 Jacqui Smith
Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith stood down in the cabinet reshuffle amid a flurry of controversy after the MPs expenses scandal revealed her husband Richard Timney, who also ran her constituency office, had watched two pay-per-view adult movies which had then, unknown to her, been subject to a claim for reimbursement. The ‘porn scandal’ not only saw the former Labour MP Ms Smith, who was the first female Home Secretary, eventually resign but also saw her lose her back bench position in May 2010.
8/9 Sir Peter Viggers
Sir Peter Viggers also found himself caught up in the MPs expenses scandal when The Daily Telegraph reported that the Conservative Party Member had attempted to claim for a pond feature identified as a floating duck island, although this was notoriously rejected. The Gosport MP said he would repay £10,000 in claims for garden maintenance and repairs and agreed to stand down at the next election.
9/9 Prime Minister David Cameron
David Cameron gave his shock resignation in … wait, no he didn’t. Wales Online were forced to apologise after a story that the government was rocked by news the PM had quit was used in a “training exercise” but went live on the internet by accident before it was quickly pulled.
Sir Malcolm was recorded saying: “You’d be surprised how much free time I have. I am self-employed. So nobody pays me a salary, I have to earn my income, but when I’m not doing something I can do what I like.”
Sir Malcolm had previously claimed that his salary of £67,000 a year for being an MP was not enough.
He said in the video that he received “£5,000 to £8,000, something of that kind” for half a day’s work doing presentations in the Middle East.
He has said he thought that the fake company wanted his assistance as a former foreign secretary, not an MP.
Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Westminster standards watchdog, told The Telegraph he found the two MPs’ comments “shocking” and that he was concerned that Sir Malcolm was “so willing to sell himself” and his “enormous range of contact lists”.
Mr Straw agreed he would “suspend himself” from the parliamentary Labour Party after the election and, as well as Sir Malcolm, said he would also refer himself to Parliamentary Standards Commissioner.
His spokesman said: “[Mr Straw] has always conducted himself, in whatever capacity, in accordance with the appropriate rules.”
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- Cash for access scandal