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Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Foreign Secretary, has been suspended from the Conservative Party following his meeting with Michael Gove, the Conservative Party Chief Whip.
The suspension announcement follows an investigation into politicians offering their services for cash. The sting was conducted by Channel Four and it found two former Foreign Secretaries who were prepared to accept money, the other was Jack Straw. Straw, unlike Rifkind, immediately resigned the party whip whilst investigations continue with both politicians denying the charges.
Rifkind claimed that he was self-employed and wasn’t paid by anyone although he is still an MP and claims the full salary. Defending his business activities on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme he said:
“If you are trying to attract people of a business or a professional background to serve in the House of Commons, and if they are not ministers, it is quite unrealistic to believe they will go through their parliamentary career being able to simply accept a salary of £60,000. That sounds a lot to a lot of people earning less than that but the vast majority of people from a business or professional background earn far, far more than that. If they are told they have to choose one or the other they just won’t come to the House of Commons at all and Parliament will lose their skills.”