Sir Malcolm Rifkind boasted of his friendship with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, his defence contacts and membership of an international panel on nuclear security to undercover journalists pretending to be agents of a fake Chinese company.
The former Foreign and Defence Secretary announced on Tuesday that he would stand down as an MP at the general election following the first reports about the sting operation by The Daily Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme. He also quit as chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which oversees Britain’s intelligence agencies.
In newly released excerpts of the secretly filmed conversations, the Conservative MP for Kensington, who was discussing working for the Chinese company for at least £5,000 a day, said he and Ms Albright were “good friends”.
“I worked with her when I was in Government and she chairs a group of 22 former foreign ministers [the Aspen Strategy Group]. I still have the contacts with all these people who have served at a very senior level. Some of them still do serve - are still active,” he said.
“But in addition to that I also, I am involved with the World Economic Forum, Davos, and they have a number of specialist committees – one of which looks at nuclear security, nuclear weapons security. I was a defence minister so it’s an area that I have some interest in, so I have contacts in that area as well.
“If you’ve done the kind of work I’ve done over the years without realising it, you find you know an awful lot of people.”
A spokesman for Sir Malcolm told the Telegraph that the MP’s work on the Davos panel “has nothing to do with his time as defence secretary”. He also said that “neither of these [the panel or Aspen group] are directly or indirectly relevant to the work of the ISC, nor do they have anything to do with defence companies”.Reuse content