Rifkind in the Cold

Malcolm Rifkind; in the cold

Malcolm Rifkind is finished. Both he and Labour MP Jack Straw have shredded their reputations by being caught in a journalists "cash for access," sting. It is worse for Rifkind by degrees. As the former chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee (he resigned ten minutes ago), he has demonstrated a shocking absence of judgement. There are some suggestions in the press that Rifkind has put forward some robust legal arguments to the Chief Whip in his defence and also that he is a good guy because he is nice to his ill wife. There are a lot of people with ill spouses but there is only one chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Men and women from these shores risk their lives every day in defence of our country and it is simply untenable for a man who has shown a willingness to take money from a company from a foreign power such as China and use his influence to further their unspecified aims to remain in his post, something he has obviously recognised this morning. Rather like a policeman committing a crime this incident is aggravated because of experience, position and current knowledge of security matters.

The Cold War may be over but a very strong message indeed needs to be sent to those walking the corridors of power and influence. The galloping sense of self entitlement of some MP's so often seems to bury any of duty and honour that once they might have harboured. Having resigned from the committee Rifkind should keep walking and be gone from the Commons by lunchtime with Straw in quick time behind him.