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.

 

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.

12-Dispatches1.jpg 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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