MPs and second-jobbing

Didn’t they do well? Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw have done a blinder dragging Parliament’s reputation through the muck yet again. Fair play to The Telegraph too, who teamed up with C4 Dispatches to complete the sting. Fortuitous timing too, this has helped push the paper’s recent difficulties down the memory hole. Yet Rifkind and Straw, deary me. It is true that neither men were engaged in Parliamentary rule-breaking of Denis MacShane/Elliot Morley proportions, but it was very, very bad for all that. Writing to ministers on behalf of paying clients, that’s cash for questions by other means. However, Straw apparently getting paid to sort out Ukraine and EU regulations for his client are, on my understanding, *within* the rules. And there are some politicians who do not understand why Parliament’s standing is so low. Continue reading

Jack Straw defends Lutfur Rahman and hits out at “gutter politics”

Lutfur RahmanThe editors say: Readers should note that this article was published on 1st April before 12pm!!!

After a Dispatches documentary last night criticised his handling of public grants, Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman has received backing from an unlikely quarter. Blackburn MP and former cabinet minister Jack Straw has criticised borough bigwigs for engaging in “gutter politics”, and declared that “Lutfur is rolling out the sort of progressive programme that I’m in favour of Labour councils initiating”. Continue reading

The questions on Libya Tony Blair needs to answer

Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair and former Foreign Secretaries Jack Straw and David Miliband, now face some extremely tough questions as to how much they knew about the extraordinary rendition of prisoners to Libya where they were tortured. The discovery of some extraordinary archives in the ruins of the Ministry of Information in Tripoli by Human Rights Watch suggest that the British security services had much stronger links with their opposite numbers in Gaddafi’s Libya than hitherto thought. And while the security services will befearing even worse revelations, they must also be kicking themselves for not getting to the files first. Continue reading

Jack Straw should go now

Making the transition from Government to opposition requires that Labour  recognises as quickly as possible where it went wrong, on what issues it was most decisively rejected, and seeks to distance itself from its past. Civil liberties is a prime example, and one on which the Tory performance largely bears out its opposition stance: Labour has already begun to move — by accepting the abandonment of ID Cards, for example, and abstaining yesterday on the extension of 28 day detention. But the paper trail on torture revealed in today’s Guardian focuses on what may well prove the biggest stain on Labour’s record – its involvement in the illegal abduction and torture of its own citizens. And the latest evidence is enough for Jack Straw to go from Labour’s front bench without delay, and before the Gibson inquiry gets under way. Continue reading