FOUR Labour MPs – including thee ex-ministers – have become embroiled in a cash for influence scandal.
Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt, Geoff Hoon and Margaret Moran allegedly offered to lobby colleagues on behalf of a private firm in exchange for thousands of pounds. An undercover reporter posed as an executive at an American company, and secretly filmed the MPs apparently offering their services for cash.
Byers, the former transport secretary and a long-time ally of Tony Blair, is alleged to have said he was “like a sort of cab for hire”. Byers is also said to have claimed he convinced Lord Mandelson to drop a food-labelling scheme, after agreeing to lobby the business secretary on behalf of Tesco. And he is also alleged to have said he brokered a deal between Lord Adonis and National Express, which saw it escape penalties for abandoning the East Coast rail franchise.
Hewitt is also accused of claiming she was paid £3,000 a day to help a client secure a seat on an advisory group, while Hoon was said he was looking to turn his political contacts into “something that frankly makes money”. And Moran was said to have boasted about a “girls’ gang” of colleagues that she could lobby for clients.