Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has been accused of breaking parliamentary rules by offering to provide a Commons pass for lobbyists and tabling parliamentary questions in return for money.
Secret filming by BBC Panorama and The Telegraph appears to show Mercer agreeing to table parliamentary questions after being paid by a fake lobbying firm. The questions were drafted by undercover reporters purporting to be lobbyists for businesses with interests in Fiji, the Telegraph alleges.
Mr Mercer is also captured on camera agreeing to approve a parliamentary pass for a "representative" for the fake firm. He said:
"I do not charge a great deal of money for these things. I would normally come out at £500 per half day, so £1,000 a day."
Parliamentary rules ban MPs from undertaking "paid advocacy" on behalf of paying clients. Mr Mercer said he is taking legal advice on the allegations.
BBC's Panorama show said they have been investigating lobbying and conduct of MPs and members of the House of Lords and sought a response from "a number of people including Mr Mercer." In a statement the broadcaster said:
A Conservative Party spokesman said David Cameron is aware of Patrick Mercer's resignation and thinks he has "done the right thing" in referring himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over allegations that he broke Parliamentary rules. A spokesman said:
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has announced he is retiring the party whip and will not stand in the next election. In a statement he said he was taking advice over allegations that he has broke Parliamentary rules.
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has resigned the Tory whip following a confrontation with The Daily Telegraph, the newspaper alleges.
The Telegraph say they have been investigating the former shadow minister over "major lobbying" claims.
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has announced he is resigning the Conservative whip.
Mr Mercer told The Times he did not plan to join UKIP or any other party, and would stand down at the next election, but declined to give a reason for his decision.
Newark's MP, Patrick Mercer says the ability to cope with ill people at the town's hospital has been 'seriously diminished'. He has raised questions in parliament about planned changes to hospital services.
NHS Nottinghamshire County says it is 'fully committed to the future of Newark Hospital'. The future of healthcare services at the hospital was debated in the commons last night, after the trust which runs it announced planned changes.
MP Patrick Mercer claims that with a growing population and the planned closure of the ambulance station, there's a risk that services for local patients will suffer. But hospital bosses insist the quality of services will not be affected by the planned changes.
Newark MP and former Army officer Patrick Mercer gives his reaction to the cuts announced today by the Defence Secretary.