Tory MP quits after accepting cash from undercover lobbyists
Newark MP Patrick Mercer has quit his position after Panorama and The Telegraph released secret video footage of him accepting cash bribes to influence parliament.
The footage shows Mercer negotiating £1,000 a day and signing a contract for undercover journalists posing as lobbyists. In the video, Mercer agrees to represent Fiji’s business interests in parliament, including Fiji rejoining the Commonwealth, for cash.
BBC current affairs show Panorama stated: “Patrick Mercer MP said he agreed to be a consultant for work he said was outside parliament…. But he submitted five parliamentary questions, which were all answered, as well as an early day motion – all in relation to Fiji.”
Fiji was removed from the Commonwealth in 2009 for refusing to meet election demands.
Mercer quickly resigned to save the Conservative Party “embarrassment”. He is seeking legal advice, has stepped down from the next general election and referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, who are responsible for MPs adhering to the code of conduct.
The code of conduct for MPs states: “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.”
Three years ago Prime Minister David Cameron warned lobbying was the “next political scandal” and vowed to clean up parliament. Cameron described lobbying as “an issue that exposes the far-too-cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money.”
Lucy EJ Woods