back to article MP resigns as security committee chair amid 'cash-for-access' claims

Former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind is stepping down as chair of the UK Parliament’s influential security committee in the wake of "cash for access" allegations. In a statement, Rifkind said he intends to remain a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee but will step down as chairman. The ISC, which overseas …

Is there a particular reason MP's seem to get away with resigning when this happens? In my opinion they should face charges ranging from misconduct in a public office up to treason depending on the specifics.

But in this case Cameron is assuring everybody theres no need to crack down on outside jobs so I'm sure it will all be fine.

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Unhappy

And when they leave the service of the public...

many seem to get jobs on the board of directors of companies that have landed lucrative government contracts. Or did I just make that up because I am a cynical old bastard that has a huge distrust of politicians?

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Anonymous Coward

> Is there a particular reason MP's seem to get away with resigning when this happens?

Yes - so that they can immediately get elevated to the Lords without any of that messy investigation business or other scrutiny. The establishment knows how to protect its children even if the poor Lords have to subsist on a mere £300 a day with only some bribes that have to be worked for to help the poor dears.

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Re: And when they leave the service of the public...

No, you're probably a reader of Private Eye.

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Anonymous Coward

Re:Is there a particular reason MP's seem to get away with resigning when this happens?

Because the ones that haven't been caught would like to continue raking in the money safe in the knowledge that the only punishment in the event they are also caught will be their resignation?

Given the "standards" applied to politicians today, a quick resignation almost qualifies as honerable (for reference, see Rotherham Council).

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Re: Is there a particular reason MP's seem to get away with resigning when this happens?

It's because they can't get fired, and we can't constitutionally vote them out of office if they don't do their job properly.

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Re: And when they leave the service of the public...

I find it nothing short of corrupt and, perhaps, treasonous when cabinet members have interests in private medical care corporations whilst the NHS is crumbling.

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"Is there a particular reason MP's seem to get away with resigning when this happens"

"Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few."

George Bernard Shaw

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Anonymous Coward

A choice of Treason or Treason

With all due respect for a chair of the Intelligence committee there is only one fitting charge for corruption - it is grand treason.

Note - charge. If the charge sticks in court he gets whatever he deserves. If the charge does not, it does not.

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Re: And when they leave the service of the public...

@adnim cynicism is unnecessary... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/investigations/11430777/Jack-Straw-to-take-job-for-firm-he-lobbied-for-in-Commons.html

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"Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." - George Bernard Shaw

Shut up George! Winston, tell him:

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Winston Churchill

Yeah! you torched is ass man. Torched his ass.

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Re: A choice of Treason or Treason

But herein lies the problem - the courts are overseen by the Government. They look after themselves and change the rules to suit (by law often than not). Look at the Iraq war inquiry - going on years, and now after all this time they STILL will not release the results until it has been doctored and hammered into shape to acquit Blair and co.

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WTF?

Re: And when they leave the service of the public...

What really got to me about this was hearing one of them yesterday being really bullish and stating vehemently that he was appalled about his disturbing behaviour, and had referred himself to the parliamentary standards committee forthwith (or words to that effect) and didn't seem to see any problems at all with joining in the indignation that everyone else was expressing, as if it were about someone elses behaviour. I wasn't sure whether to doubt my own sanity or theirs.

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Re: Or did I just make that up...?

No, you didn't just make it up but that doesn't preclude you from being "a cynical old bastard that has a huge distrust of politicians."

I certainly am.

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Yes its because there is enough of them doing it that if one falls they all fall, none of them want to risk that happening. If one of them does get done (and by that I mean not falling on sword two days before retiring and becoming a board member of various companies), then it would be a bloodletting akin to the Borgias and Plantagenets getting together.

Note if you watch the video by the way Mr Rifkind (he doesn't deserve the Sir), says he actually earns no money. If that's the case whats happening to the taxes I paid in for his wages (81K he gets a bonus for being on def and intel commitee (14K) ) and expenses. Bastard.

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Gimp

"Note if you watch the video by the way Mr Rifkind (he doesn't deserve the Sir), says he actually earns no money. If that's the case whats happening to the taxes I paid in for his wages (81K he gets a bonus for being on def and intel commitee (14K) ) and expenses. Bastard."

I have a hypothesis that may cover that glaring "inaccuracy", sorry I mean blatant lie. Perhaps Mr Rifkind views the money he earns as part and parcel of being an MP as "gifts", whereas the money he has to get off his arse to earn/swindle from Her Majesty's Long Suffering Tax Payers and lobbyists as earnings.

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Perhaps...

... the 'Honourable' Gentleman was being precise, and differentiating between 'I earn no money' and 'I am paid no money'. After all, and with no direct slur intended, one can be paid money, even (especially?) tax payer money without actually going to the trouble of 'earning' it...

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I get the feeling he regards it as such a pittance it doesn't count as money, which most of them seem to.

Lovely coming from MPs who say £55 a week is perfectly easy to live on.

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@The Crow from below

I like that quote. Have an up vote

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Unhappy

Bribery eh?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bribery_Act_2010

10 years and an unlimited fine apparently,

Although typically big companies appear to be able to bribe ..erm.. pay off .. "Negotiate a settlement" with the government investigating them for bribery to drop the charges.

As an MP, if a foreign company wants to present some suggestions for changes they would like to legislation in order to consider starting a business here or similar requests that might benefit the UK economy , then sure, point them to the right people, like the treasury or some under secretary somewhere, or consider sponsoring a bill yourself using their request as evidence of potential benefits.

Just don't ask them for money for doing your job eh, we are already paying you ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bribery eh?

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bribery_Act_2010

That wouldn't that be the Bribery Act of 2010 introduced by Jack Straw would it?

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Headmaster

over????

"The ISC, which overseas the work of the security and intelligence agencies"

You mean they offshore it? That's not very secure is it?

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The impressive thing about Rifkind

is that he couldn't conceive that his activities could be morally or ethically wrong, even if they're not technically illegal (yet?). THAT is the reason why he has to go. We do not want or need politicians who cannot tell right from wrong - possibly better to have a crook who at least knows and accepts he's a wrong 'un.

Having said that, taking money to arrange 'introductions' to government officials surely must be illegal.

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Re: The impressive thing about Rifkind

"Having said that, taking money to arrange 'introductions' to government officials surely must be illegal."

Only if you're a civil servant. If you're a politician present or former (eg Brown, Blair, Straw, Rifkind, and the rest of the shower of piss) then apparently it is just fine.

The most alarming thing is that despite the embarrassment over expenses a few short years back, and before that embarrassment over cash for questions revelations, the royalty of both parties have yet again been found to be till dipping. And I saw there was even some fucker of an MP claiming that he'd done the thick end of 2,000 hours paid work outside of Parliament - I'm sure he did that by working eighteen hour days every single Saturday and Sunday, to ensure his constituents were properly represented.

As with bankers, politicians are simply endemically and systematically dishonest and venal, reflecting a general lack of transparency and of stern, fair handed oversight. Where else can you get away claiming expenses without so much as a receipt?

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Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

... is that the £60K+ a year he takes home isn't enough for him or Jack Straw. In most industries that's a pretty good middle-management salary. And being an MP is about as middle-management as it gets.

The greedy b******* need to realise they serve only with our consent. And managing on "only" £60K a year might give them some idea of what a Horlicks they've made of our economy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

don't forget the 11% pay rise they're getting after the election (I'm alright Jack). Whilst I and other public sector works are getting 1% if we're lucky. Of course the 2 1% pay rises we've had is more than outstripped by the rise in pension contributions so we've actually had a pay cut. Add in to that the final salary pension will be no more and our pay grade progressions are going too.

All in all I can't see what any public sector worker would EVER vote Tory again, I won't be.

Come the revolution

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Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

@AC

"don't forget the 11% pay rise they're getting after the election (I'm alright Jack). Whilst I and other public sector works are getting 1% if we're lucky."

The unfortunate truth is that the public sector cant have the lovely pay rises they would like, it just isnt feasible. The very people who pay for that pay rise (private sector) are not making the gains to do it. However the public sector includes the gov and those thieves need their pay cutting down to size and adjust at the same rate as the whole public sector. They should not get their large increase and removing a chunk of them from office should provide more public money to share in wages for the 'public workers' who deserve to be called that.

You may not like the tory but labour would be no better. They would either cut you or sell your children to add more workers. This is where alternatives are needed for democracy not 2 contenders and a protest party.

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Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

"don't forget the 11% pay rise they're getting after the election "

Some of them won't. But after they've been "let go" by their constituents at the end of a fixed term contract, they'll be allowed to hoover up around £30k of "resettlement grant" and £40k of "winding up allowance".

And the other great thing about being an MP is the free travel and accommodation expenses - if you or I took a five year fixed term contract in London of our own free will, HMRC would take a very dim view of our employers paying for our commuting, our second homes, and for lobbyists to pay for "fact finding" holidays, but where MP's are greedy bastards writing their own chit, it's all OK. Not to mention the obscenely generous parliamentary pension scheme, with its benefits inflated by 25% by that economically illiterate twat, Gordon Brown.

If Rifkind can't get by on this gravy train, he should throw himself into the Thames. Let me know when and where, and I'll come to enjoy the spectacle.

"All in all I can't see what any public sector worker would EVER vote Tory again, I won't be."

You think it'll all work out fine under Labour? The clowns that time after time fuck up the economy, and last time round doubled the national debt, left the public spending £120bn a year in the red, allowed the banks to fuck up the economy by their rampant bad lending, and embroiled us in a decade of wars that we've still got not explanation for? Not that I'd dispute that no sane person would vote Conservative.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

Sadly nothing new; it was the sainted Margaret who decided that the Prime Minister's pension should be calculated on the basis that the incumbent had been earning that salary for their entire career.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

don't get me wrong I've always voted Tory I'd never vote Labour. Just won't be voting Tory again

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Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

I notice they had a comparison of salaries for MP's, Head Teachers, top band Civil service, etc on the BBC;s website yesterday. But what they forget to mention (as you just have) is all the perks and allowances that go on top of an MP's pay! What they should have done is used the civil service T&S model for MP's

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Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

Actually its 67K plus 14K for being on the defence and intel committee, Plus an additional 270K from other companies like Unilever.

I can only assume the 67K job is part time to give him the time to gouge out the rest.

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Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

"The unfortunate truth is that the public sector cant have the lovely pay rises they would like, it just isnt feasible. "

Speaking as a public sector worker (and working flat out), from my point of view the real issue is that there are far too many public sector workers underemployed in areas of high unemployment - and that many of the actively sabotage others work in order to avoid being shown up.

A total public sector employment rate in excess of 5-10% of all jobs in an area is toxic, but in some parts of the UK it hits 60% for central govt employment alone.

Culling deadwood would make a huge difference to the ability to pay the people who actually perform well, but would impact badly on the final salary pensions of those who've been there for decades and are paid based on the number of people who work under them.

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Re: The depressive thing about Rifkind

"Actually its 67K plus 14K for being on the defence and intel committee"

Citation? The BBC was claiming he got nothing extra for being on the committee.

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The Superman defence

Head of Intelligence fooled by blonde in a wig, no wonder he is stepping down.

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Facepalm

Re: The Superman defence

If you or I were called out of the blue for what was effectively an interview for a highly lucrative job, I think we might take 30 seconds to Google this foreign company and its apparent representative that we'd never heard of. At which point "no results found" might start a few alarm bells ringing. But not for these two bozos! Even if they can't figure out how to turn on their iPads (provided by us), presumably they have access to people who can.

And yet they have both at one time been in charge of our foreign policy. Not exactly Viscount Palmerston material, are they?

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Re: The Superman defence

Yes, that's the really, really depressing thing.

It was a sting, but could equally have been a dodgy government, dodgy oligarch, HSBC, anyone.

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Why such a surprise?

An idea that any MP has got their seat in order to live on a 50k salary seems ridiculous to me. They are ambitious and ruthless people and would not trouble themselves if the salary was the only thing they could expect out of it...

As this cannot be avoided in some shape or form, there are two solutions that I can see -

1) Bring it out in the open. Make them declare publicly all jobs and contracts they take out while being MPs; or

2) Make being an MP a full-time job and pay them as much as is needed to deter them from taking money on the side. And then, if they get caught - well, that Mars colony project needs volunteers, right?

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Re: Why such a surprise?

1) Bring it out in the open. Make them declare publicly all jobs and contracts they take out while being MPs; or

This is the approach now ... the "House of Commons the Register of Members' Interests"

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Re: Why such a surprise?

Well £50k would be very welcome to the majority in this country. And that for a full time job.

This was clearly a part time job with a glorious set of perks that can be milked quite legally for kith & kin (our MP 'employs' his wife and nephew). No - I don't want him to stand for treason. Only the lawyers win and we are milked more for financing his stay at Bessie's Pleasure.

No, we just want his unearned salary back please. This would be true justice for a man who voted for capping benefits from those less fortunate than himself.

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Tried, not working

Wow, Vladimir, about pt 2 I'm afraid this won't end well for the nation, as we have already an example of rising the bet and having anyhow lost the game to the Gosdu(m)a and regional snatch masters. Slingshotting them to the planet Mars (and I wish that the event would be deployed simultaneously, in a truly international spirit) seems a less phantastic enterprise...

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Re: Why such a surprise?

Failure to declare isn't a crime.

Omitting items from a declaration isn't perjury.

Both of these need to be addressed

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Re: resignation

He hasn't resigned resigned, in the typically understood sense of the word. He's just stood down as head honcho of a committee (which he remains on.) Even though he is suspended from his party he will remain a salary drawing MP.

In fact technically speaking MP's can't resign from their jobs due to some outdated legal bollocks from centuries ago when being an MP was so unpopular people had to be press-ganged into doing it. There are a couple of Offices of the Crown kept specifically as get-out-of-job-free cards because holding such a position disqualifies you from serving in the House of Commons.

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Re: resignation

Gerard Adams (SF, Belfast West) had to be given one of those offices when he resigned to stand for election to Dail Eireann (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Adams#Election_to_D.C3.A1il_.C3.89ireann), which was a beautiful constitutional irony.

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Anonymous Coward

Rifkind

that old chestnut, I remember hearing this name in my childhood days... oh dear, perhaps he was desperate to top up his statutory pension, allegedly not sufficient to sustain life, even as a "new age traveller"... take pity on the poor man, he didn't know what he was doing!

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What I like....

...is the argument put forward, in all seriousness, that it's actually good for MPs to have other jobs apart from their own, as then they can get an idea of what the real world is like, rather than the little insular political world.

What I want to know is, where is this "real world" where people are paid £5000 a day, and can I join it?

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Re: What I like....

No, Martin. You can't.

You went to the wrong school, you see.

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You're 'avin a larf, mate, but it aint funny. In fact, it is quite sad these days.

the UK Parliament’s influential security committee

Oh, please, you cannot be serious.

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Big Brother

The Cousins are not going to like this

Rifkind said he intends to remain a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee

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