Commons ban for ex-Labour ministers


Geoff Hoon had his Commons pass suspended for five years

Three former Labour ministers have been stripped of their parliamentary passes after they breached lobbying rules.

Ex-defence secretary Geoff Hoon had his Commons pass suspended for five years after a damning verdict by the Standards and Privileges Committee.

Former transport secretary Stephen Byers, who likened himself to a “taxi for hire” in a series of stings by undercover reporters, was banned for two years.

And ex-sports minister Richard Caborn was suspended for six months.

The recommendations from the cross-party committee were endorsed by MPs without a vote.

The committee’s Labour chairman Kevin Barron accused the journalists who carried out the sting of “deception”.

He said they would “no doubt argue that they had served the public interest but of course they were also taking advantage of a need of retiring MPs in the run-up to a general election to provide for their future employment”.

He went on: “They dangled some of the bait in front of our former colleagues and unfortunately some of them took it. If it wasn’t entrapment it was something close to entrapment.

“While I do not seek to excuse the conduct of the three former members who are the subject of the motion, I think that the whole House would feel some sympathy for them because of the way that they were deceived.”

The House authorities launched a probe last spring after the expose by Channel 4’s Dispatches and the Sunday Times.

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