Ofcom report on Rifkind and Straw is more proof Parliament’s standards commission must be scrapped

Tamasin Cave, campaigner for the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, is right to state that the standards regime is “not fit for purpose and not doing what the public expect of it”.

Cave added that David Cameron had failed in his promise to clean up politics when it comes to MPs being lobbied by corporate interests, and this is also correct.

The current Ofcom report came after Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson’s decision on the Rifkind and Straw case was challenged by Labour MP Paul Flynn – and shows he was right to do so.

Furthermore, it has emerged that Rifkind was a member of the panel that helped appoint Hudson as Standards Commissioner, three years ago. Corruption?

The parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson is facing questions for criticising the media sting on Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw, after regulator Ofcom found the reporting was of significant public interest and did not unfairly represent the MPs.

Ofcom opened an investigation into the programme in question, a joint operation between Channel 4 and the Daily Telegraph, after Rifkind and Straw were cleared of cash-for-access allegations by Hudson and the standards committee of MPs in September.

The programme used secret filming to allege that the MPs offered their political connections to earn money from commercial companies.

After exonerating the MPs of breaching parliamentary standards, Hudson said the damage done to the former MPs could have been avoided if Channel 4’s Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported the exchanges they had filmed.

The House of Commons standards committee was even more critical of the journalism, saying it was “very concerned that the matter should have been reported in this fashion”.

But Ofcom took a different view on Monday, saying there was a “significant public interest” in exploring the conduct of the MPs and that in the circumstances undercover filming was “proportionate and warranted”.

In its 38-page ruling, Ofcom also said that the filming was an “accurate representation” of the discussions the MPs held.

Source: Parliamentary commissioner faces questions over Rifkind and Straw sting | Media | The Guardian

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  1. daijohn December 22, 2015 at 9:21 am - Reply

    So what happens next I wonder?

  2. Dez December 22, 2015 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Why then does the so called right hon Jack Straw laughably still sit on the five member establishment stich up inappropriately called the “independent” commission of Freedom of Information?? His fellow members have all got some axe to grind with regard to restricting press freedom. Patricia Hodgson, deputy chair of Ofcom, is now sitting on the same Commission with a colleague whoes integrity has been rightly called into question by her own department as being inappropriately let off the hook by the so called softly softly Commons no-standards committee. Freedom of Information policies were transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the infamous Cabinet Office in July 2015. This is the last Straw for FoI …… if this lot is running the show. Where are the robust laymen on this Commission standing up for the needs of the general public for the transparent government that the Camoron promised…..

  3. NMac December 23, 2015 at 9:26 am - Reply

    The so-called Parliamentary Standards Commission appears to me to be a body which is there to whitewash the misdemeanours of Establishment figures and protect them from the full force of the law – as happened with most of the expenses embezzlers.

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