Malcolm Rifkind steps down over cash for access claims

Former foreign secretaries under pressure following undercover ‘dispatches’ sting

Former British foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind is to step down as an MP at the upcoming general election following criticism over "cash-for-access" claims.

Mr Rifkind has also resigned as chairman of the influential Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

“None of the current controversy with which I am associated is relevant to my work as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament,” Mr Rifkind said in a statement.

The veteran Conservative Party politician said the allegations against him were “contemptible” but that it was better for the party and his Kensington constituency if he did not seek to stand in 2015.


The party whip had been suspended yesterday pending an internal investigation as to whether he should remain the candidate for May’s poll.

“I had intended to seek one further term as MP for Kensington, before retiring from the House of Commons,” he said in the statement.

“I have concluded that to end the uncertainty it would be preferable, instead, to step down at the end of this Parliament. “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.”

Mr Rifkind's resignation follows an undercover investigation in which he and former foreign secretary Jack Straw were caught by an undercover reporter posing as the representative of a Hong Kong-based company that purportedly sought to hire them.

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.