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Blackburn MP Jack Straw 'takes job' with firm he lobbied

Blackburn MP Jack Straw is facing further criticism after claims he accepted a job with a company he privately lobbied for, which won a £75million government contract.

Jack Straw Credit: Press Association

According to the Telegraph, during an undercover sting Mr Straw talked about privately lobbying Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude on behalf of Senator International, saying he had helped the office furniture firm "get on the ladder" and secure contracts to supply the Government.

He indicated he would probably take an executive position with the firm after the next election. "I happen to have helped them over the last four years anyway. I mean, without taking a penny from that," Mr Straw said.

"But as a result of getting the name out ... they've said would I be interested ultimately in going on the board?"

Mr Straw - who is stepping down at the election - said in a statement: "I have acted in accordance with the parliamentary rules at all times in respect of Senator International, as in all other respects. All of these matters will be scrutinised by the Parliamentary Commissioner."

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  1. Daniel Hewitt - Political Reporter

Report: Blackburn MP Jack Straw in 'cash for access' scandal

The Blackburn MP Jack Straw stands accused of being prepared to use his parliamentary position and influence in return for thousands of pounds.

Mr Straw was secretly filmed by reporters from the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4's Dispatches programme offering to help the business interests of a fake company based in Hong Kong.

Mr Straw strongly denies he has done anything wrong.

He steps down as Blackburn's Labour MP at the general election in May.

  1. National

Clegg: Cash-for-access claims 'like Groundhog Day'

Nick Clegg said the cash-for-access claims involving former foreign secretaries Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind felt like "Groundhog Day".

"This keeps coming round, " said the Deputy Prime Minister. "Whether there is individual wrongdoing or not, the cumulative effect is to deepen public scepticism about how politics operates.

Nick Clegg commented on the row at an event in south London. Credit: PA

"My own view is all political parties would be well advised to immediately after the next general election get together and have a look on a cross-party basis whether the rules need to be changed."

Straw's election agent: Revelations bring 'disappointing end' to political career

Report into Geoff Hoon's undercover sting 'bad news' for Straw

Labour MP John Mann says an extract from the Committee on Standards and Privileges report into the undercover sting involving Geoff Hoon and others is 'bad news' for Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

The report argued that in that case, Geoff Hoon had, at a meeting with an undercover reporter, referred constantly to his 'experience of public life as qualifying him' for appointments.

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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair defends Jack Straw

Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair Credit: PA

Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has defended Blackburn MP Jack Straw, saying:

"I have known Jack for over 30 years. He is a byword for being a hard-working constituency MP and parliamentarian.

I can think of no-one who has more dedicated himself to public service.

I am really sorry he has been caught up in a sting operation about a job offer after he retires from Parliament.

I hope that the commissioner will clear his name as soon as possible."

  1. National

Straw: Not how I expected to spend final weeks as MP

Jack Straw said his involvement in a cash-for-access row was "not how I expected to spend my last weeks in Parliament".

The former Foreign Secretary, who will stand down as MP for Blackburn after the general election, reiterated that he had "done nothing wrong".

Straw was secretly filmed by the Daily Telegraph and Channel 4's Dispatches progamme, who have accused him of offering to use his position in return for cash.

  1. National

Jack Straw 'mortified' after cash-for-access claims

Straw said the discussions filmed by Channel 4 related to potential work after his impending retirement as an MP. Credit: Channel 4 Dispatches/Telegraph

Jack Straw has said he is "mortified by the way I fell into this trap" after being filmed by investigative reporters posing as staff of a Chinese company, but insisted he had not acted improperly.

The former Labour home and foreign secretary told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he had been "absolutely scrupulous" in regards to the rules on outside interests and was discussing potential work after he retires as an MP.

Asked if he should have asked that the conversation be delayed until after his parliamentary role had ended, Straw admitted: "I should have done [...] it would have saved a fantastic amount of trouble."

He also said he believed that current rules dictating MPs' income outside of their parliamentary roles were "satisfactory", but accepted that others - including his own party leader Ed Miliband - disagreed.

After the Channel 4 Dispatches film showed Straw saying he had operated "under the radar", the Blackburn MP said he meant that he raised matters politely, rather than running a public or confrontational campaign.

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