Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Former UK ministers suspended in 'cash for access' scandal

Three former Cabinet ministers have been suspended from Britain's ruling Labour Party over allegations that they tried to trade access to government officials for cash.

LONDON // Three former Cabinet ministers have been suspended from Britain's ruling Labour Party over allegations that they tried to trade access to government officials for cash, as the country's Parliament faces a new set of ethics scandals. The former defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, the former transport secretary, Stephen Byers, and the former health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, have all been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party, the party said in a statement late last night, only hours after a documentary caught them apparently boasting of their influence to a fictional US lobbying firm.

Mr Byers was filmed by an undercover television documentary crew apparently offering to use his contacts and access on behalf of private clients for £5,000 (Dh27,600) a day. In the secretly-filmed footage - broadcast on Channel 4's Dispatches programme - he describes himself as a "cab for hire," and boasts that he had been able to alter new laws on behalf of major companies. Mr Byers later retracted his claims. Mr Hoon, who served as Britain's defence secretary at the time of the invasion of Iraq, is seen saying that he looks forward to "translating my knowledge and contacts about sort of (the) international scene into something that, bluntly, makes money." Both he and Mrs Hewitt were filmed suggesting they would charge £3,000 a day for their services. Both have denied any wrongdoing.

A fourth Labour Party politician, Margaret Moran, who also appeared on the programme, was suspended as well. The revelations come at a particularly embarrassing time for the government, which is only weeks away from its toughest election since Labour came to power in 1997. They also have echoes of Britain's hugely damaging expenses scandal, which laid bare the extent to which MPs from all parties were cashing in on their status as parliamentarians and dented Labour's standing in the polls.

* AP

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National