Two of our senior MPs did, in fact, offer to sell themselves for cash according to Ofcom — the broadcasting regular — in contradiction to the MPs’ in-house regulator, the Parliamentary Standards Committee (PSC).
Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Tory) and Jack Straw (Labour), both former Foreign Secretaries of high reputation are now doubly sullied, despite the attempted whitewash by the PSC in between. How this issue got to Ofcom is that the original charges of both ex-MPs being corrupt were made on a Channel 4 programme. Journalists from both Channel 4 and the Daily Telegraph set themselves up as Chinese businessmen and secretly video’d the offer and acceptance of high fees for access to government ministers or high civil servants.
What’s really bothersome about all this is not so much the corruption of two individuals who were trusted by the electorate — after all, “Every man has his price” — but that the government doesn’t have suitably transparent procedures in place. Ofcom found that the undercover operation by Channel 4 and the Daily Telegraph were in the public interest.