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'Cash for access' could expose UK to hypocrisy accusations

Chinese President Hu Jintao, whose government has previously been accused of corruption by UK ministers. Photo: Reuters

The Sunday Times investigation exposes what looks like 'cash for access' to senior politicians.

This dodgy practice will be familiar to millions of Chinese business people who bung cash or lavish gifts under the table to party officials in exchange for a dinner during which a property deal can be done or land is sold at a preferential rate.

UK Ministers regularly raise the problem of corruption inChina when they visit Beijing.

Now their Chinese counterparts will have another excuse to raise similar concerns about British politicians.

They may well say it's no good going on about the UK Bribery Act or complaining that corrupt deals are blocking UK investment when the British Prime Minister himself appears to be taking cash for access and pounds for policy.