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Tory MP: Telegraph claims 'false, hurtful and malicious'

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard has claimed the allegations made by an article in The Daily Telegraph's were false, hurtful and malicious.

Mr Pritchard told BBC One's Sunday Politics show: "These claims by the Telegraph are false, they are hurtful and they are malicious.

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard on the BBC's Sunday Politics. Credit: BBC/Sunday Politics

"The reason I say they are malicious is it's known quite widely that I've sued the Telegraph previously, I've also been quite critical of their coverage of the 'Plebgate 'affair, their reporting of that.

"The fact is that I believe in a free press, very much so, but that free press also has a responsibility to be fair, to be accurate and to be lawful."

Pritchard to sue newspaper over foreign contact claims

Tory MP Mark Pritchard is to sue The Daily Telegraph after it alleged he exploited foreign contacts to set up business deals.

Tory MP Mark Pritchard is to sue The Daily Telegraph after it alleged he exploited foreign contacts to set up business deals. Credit: PA

Mr Pritchard said he was in "final legal discussions about issuing a writ" over the report, which claimed he could use his "network" to set up meetings with politicians in countries where he had parliamentary connections.

"These sort of headlines create suspicion," he told BBC One's Sunday Politics. "I am suing The Telegraph and I expect an apology, and I don't wish to prejudice legal proceedings here today."

This week the parliamentary commissioner for standards said there was insufficient evidence to mount an investigation into the claims that Mr Pritchard told an undercover reporter posing as a businessman that he should invest £10 million in a group of boutique hotels in Albania.

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'Insufficient evidence' to merit inquiry into Pritchard

The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner says there is "insufficient evidence" to merit an inquiry into the Conservative MP for the Wrekin, Mark Pritchard.

The Daily Telegraph said last week that Mr Pritchard had offered to use his contacts to help reporters posing as businessmen set up deals in Albania.

But Mr Pritchard also told the reporters he could not lobby for them in Parliament.

Mr Pritchard, who denies having broken any rules, had referred himself to the Standards Commissioner.

PM spokesman declines to comment on Pritchard

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman declined to comment on the allegations against Conservative MP Mark Pritchard.

"I think this is now being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards," said the spokesman.

He added: "Parliament has its rules and procedures and it's important that they are followed."

MP 'told paper he could use network for business gain'

The Daily Telegraph claims the MP for Wrekin, Shropshire - Mark Pritchard - told an undercover reporter he could use his “network” to set up meetings with politicians in countries where he had parliamentary connections.

Conservative Mark Pritchard was secretly filmed by the Daily Telegraph. Credit: Daily Telegraph

The Conservative MP is heard in the covert footage saying: "To be completely brutal, I know the mayor, I know the prime minister, I know the speaker.“I don’t lobby. I don’t, whatever. But my network I will use.”

The newspaper claims the MP was secretly filmed offering his services as a consultant and offering to fix up meetings, including dinner with the prime minister of Malta.

The MP has denied the claims and has asked the parliamentary standards watchdog to investigate.

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Labour: Tory MP 'right to refer himself' to watchdog

A Labour Party spokeswoman said:

It is right that Mr Pritchard has referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

It is essential that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards urgently investigate to ascertain whether or not the House of Commons Code of Conduct has been upheld in principle and practice.

Every passing scandal and further investigation only goes to reinforce why Ed Miliband was right earlier this year to call for new rules and new limits on MP's outside earnings.

The perception that some MPs are only in it for what they can get, not for what they can give, merely serves to further undermine Parliament.

– Labour Party spokeswoman

Tory MP denies 'foreign deals' claims

Tory MP Mark Pritchard who has denied "hurtful and malicious" claims that he was exploiting foreign contacts to set up business deals. Credit: PA

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard has denied "hurtful and malicious" claims that he was exploiting foreign contacts to set up business deals.

Mr Pritchard, MP for Wrekin, Shropshire, said he has asked the parliamentary standards watchdog to investigate after The Daily Telegraph reported that he claimed he could use his "network" to set up meetings with politicians in countries where he had parliamentary connections.

"The allegations made by the Telegraph are false - and I deny their claims," Mr Pritchard said. "They have selected quotes out of context to fit their desired story, which is both hurtful and malicious and seeking to damage me.

"This is not the first time the Telegraph have made false claims about me for which I have subsequently and successfully sued them for libel. I cannot comment further as I am consulting libel lawyers. I have asked the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate the matter".