Sir Malcolm Rifkind has announced that he plans to step down as an MP and resign from his role as chairman of the Intellgence and Security Committee.
In a statement, Rifkind said that he is to step down at the next election despite the “tremendous support from my constituency association and from many constituents in Kensington over the last two days”.
Rifkind was alleged to have offered his services to a private company after being secretly filmed apparently offering their services to a private company for cash. Rifkind said he had never accepted an offer from the fake firm, saying it was a “preliminary” discussion “about what they had mind”.
He was suspended by the Conservative Party as a result. He said: “I am also aware that even if the Committee reach a favourable conclusion as to these allegations, the controversy will remain during what is certain to be a heated general election and, indeed, for many months thereafter until the parliamentary commissioner for standards has completed the necessary enquiry.I had intended to seek one further term as MP for Kensington, before retiring from the House of Commons.
“Although I will retire from parliament I shall continue my public and political life and am much looking forward to doing so over the years to come.”
Earlier this month, Cabinet Office minister for cyber security Francis Maude announced his plans to step down at the next election, whilst Conservative MP David Davis told IT Security Guru that he was “not interested in any ministerial position, and certainly not that one about to be vacated by Francis Maude” as he was happy with his position on the backbenches.
Professor Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey, told IT Security Guru that he understood that there are plans for the committee to meet today and Rifkind will stay on the committee, but step down as chairman.
Describing it as one of the most important joint committees in parliament, he said that with the committee deputy Hazel Blears also stepping down, he expected Lord Butler of Brockwell to step up as he headed the committee on WMDs and had done inquiries into this area and did not have too many outside interests.
“The down side of him and anyone else on the committee is they don’t have the greatest track record in the use of modern technology,” he said.
“Cyber is central to security and intellgence and we have seen CIA up their game, the NSA is the most valuable spurce of intellgence to USA and likewise GCHQ here, so is has to be there as there not many MPs who are IT-literate or IT-savvy.”