Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Sir Malcolm Rifkind

The parliamentary standards watchdog has found “there was no breach of the rules on paid lobbying” by former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind after an investigation into cash-for-access allegations.

Both he and Jack Straw denied wrongdoing and referred themselves to the parliamentary standards commissioner following a sting by undercover reporters.

Kathryn Hudson, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, found that neither was in breach of the code of conduct or the rules of the House “other than in Mr Straw’s case – by a minor misuse of parliamentary resources”.

Sir Malcolm, who stepped aside as chair of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee and stood down at the election following the claims, said the months after the sting had been a “painful period” for him and his family.

He said: “I thank the Standards Commissioner and the Standards Committee for their very full examination of the allegations by Channel 4 Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph, and their conclusion that these allegations had no substance and were unjustified.”

He added: “Channel 4 Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph must recognise the judgment of the Standards Commissioner and the Standards Committee that they were responsible for ‘distortion’ and for misleading the public in making these allegations.

“It has been for me, for my family and for my former parliamentary staff a painful period which we can now put behind us.

“My public life has continued over the last seven months with the support of colleagues. I am looking forward to the years ahead in very good spirits.”