Britain’s lobbying scandal got murkier after three Peers were secretly filmed by reporters offering to ask parliamentary questions, lobby ministers and host events on the House of Lords terrace for money.
The Sunday Times, posing as a South Korean energy firm, filmed Lord Cunningham, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate and Lord Laird as they revealed their readiness to wield their influence in the halls of power to paying clients. MP Patrick Mercer has already resigned as the Tory party’s whip after claims by the BBC’s Panorama programme that he broke Parliament’s lobbying rules.
It is alleged he accepted 4,000 pounds to lobby for business interests in Fiji. Mercer said he was taking legal advice and had referred himself to Parliament’s standards commissioner.
Laird and Mackenzie revealed how some Peers were colluding to hide their conflicts of interest from public scrutiny by striking secret job-swapping deals in which they pulled strings in parliament for each other’s clients, the paper said in the report.
Cunningham, who as Jack Cunningham had been Labour’s Cabinet Office minister, offered to write directly to the PM to push the company’s agenda, the report said.