Lobbying row: Peers suspended

Two peers have been suspended from the Labour Party over claims they offered to carry out parliamentary work in return for cash. Lord Laird earlier resigned the Ulster Unionist party whip after being targeted by the same investigation.

Lord Mackenzie: 'I have obeyed the rules'

Labour peer Lord Mackenzie insisted he had "done nothing wrong" and claimed he had not breached parliamentary rules following lobbying claims.

"I've obeyed the rules. I know what the rules are - obviously I studied them before I get involved in these sort of issues," he said, speaking before the Labour Party announced that he had been suspended pending further investigation.

He said he had been considering "perhaps taking a consultancy" with a solar energy glazing firm, which "sounded like quite an interesting and novel thing" because of his interest in energy policy.

Two Labour peers suspended from party after claims

A Labour Party spokesperson said Lord Cunningham and Lord Mackenzie had been suspended from the party:

Lord Cunningham and Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate have been suspended from the Labour Party pending further investigation.

The Labour Party expects the highest standards of its representatives and believes that they have a duty to be transparent and accountable at all times.

– Labour Party spokesperson

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Greening: We need to look more carefully at lobbying

International Development Secretary Justine Greening told ITV News that the main political parties "need to look more carefully at lobbying" in the light of allegations made in the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and on BBC's Panorama programme.

She stopped short of saying that a statutory register of lobbyists was required but said politicians need to "better manage this whole issue" in a way that "doesn't constrain people from getting their points across in parliament."

Lord Laird relinquishes whip 'pending investigation'

Lord Laird has resigned the Ulster Unionist whip pending an inquiry into allegations he broke parliamentary rules, party leader Mike Nesbitt said.

Having reviewed the video footage on the Daily Telegraph website, and other media reporting of Lord Laird's engagement with alleged lobbyists, I telephoned his home this morning and as a result he has relinquished the Party Whip, pending the outcome of the review of his behaviour that he has already requested of the relevant authorities at Westminster.

Lord Laird denies any wrongdoing.

Read: Ulster Unionist Lord denies breaking any rules

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Lord Mackenzie 'very clear on parliamentary rules'

Lord MacKenzie denies the allegations made by The Sunday Times.
Lord MacKenzie denies the allegations made by The Sunday Times. Credit: Press Association

Lord Mackenzie, one of the peers accused of offering to ask parliamentary questions in return from cash in a sting by The Sunday Times, has denied any wrong-doing.

Watch: Lords drawn into political lobbying affair in new claims

Speaking on Radio Five Live he said he though he was being asked to be a consultant for the fake company and said he had followed the Parliamentary Code of Conduct. Asked if he had done anything wrong he said:

"Not at all, I'm very clear on the rules."

Ulster Unionist Lord denies breaking 'any rules'

Ulster Unionist Lord Laird said he had referred claims to a sleeze watchdog. Credit: Press Association

Ulster Union Lord Laird has denied claims he breached parliamentary rules after The Sunday Times alleged he offered to act as a paid advocate for a fake lobbying firm. He was one of three peers implicated in a sting by the newspaper.

Watch: Lords drawn into political lobbying affair in new claims

In a statement, he said:

"In recent days I have been the subject of a scam operated by journalists masquerading as communications consultants. This has led to allegations that I have broken the rules of the House of Lords.

"I wish to make it clear that I did not agree to act as a paid advocate in any proceedings of the House nor did I accept payment or other incentive or reward in return for providing parliamentary advice or services.

"Shortly after the meeting, because it was so obviously a scam, we reported it to the appropriate authorities in the Lords.

"I have not broken any rules. However, I have referred the situation to the appropriate authorities and I will be making no further statement until I have received their ruling."