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Politicians clash over second jobs row

Ed Miliband has called on David Cameron to ban MPs from having second jobs "to restore the reputation of this house" following recent allegations against two former foreign secretaries.

Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind is to step down as an MP at the General Election and has also resigned as chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, he said.

Sir Rifkind and Jack Straw were both suspended from their parties after they were secretly filmed allegedly offering to use their positions and contacts to benefit a private company in return for cash. Both men deny any wrong-doing.

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Blair: Jack Straw 'a byword for being a hard-working MP'

Former prime minister Tony Blair came to the defence of Jack Straw, who served as home secretary, foreign secretary and leader of the Commons in his governments, over the cash-for-access row.

Blair said:

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. It is typical of Jack that as soon as he was alerted of the sting against him he immediately contacted the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and asked her to investigate the case. I hope that the Commissioner will clear his name as soon as possible.

– Tony Blair

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