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Pre-election lobbying scandal rocks UK's Labour

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Pre-election lobbying scandal rocks UK's Labour


Ex-British transport secretary Stephen Byers has been caught on camera, apparently offering to carry out lobbying work in return for a hefty fee.

He told undercover journalists he was a political “cab for hire”, charging up to five thousand pounds a day for his services.

Fellow former Labour ministers Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt are also accused of being ready to take cash for using their influence with government. All three were secretly filmed but deny any wrongdoing.

The leader of the main Conservative opposition however is demanding a full government inquiry.

“What we need is not just a parliamentary investigation into Stephen Byers, welcome though that is,” said David Cameron. “What we need is a government investigation into what these ex-ministers have done. Because let’s be clear about what is at stake here. These ministers, Hewitt and Byers, were claiming that they changed government policy, they got people appointed, they cost the taxpayer money. They are making these claims and that goes to the heart of the issue of the integrity of the government.”

The timing of the scandal could not be worse for Prime Minister Gordon Brown, with a general election due by June. It follows fallout from a scandal over MPs’ expenses, affecting all the main parties, that infuriated the British public.

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