The exclusive story behind the MPs cash-for-lobbying sting, revealed by the journalist who uncovered Westminster's double-dealingby Philip Clothier / March 25, 2010 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2010 issue of Prospect Magazine
Geoff Hoon talks to an undercover reporter on Channel 4’s Dispatches
They say that after the expenses scandal, the reputation of MPs sunk lower than that of estate agents. It’s anybody’s guess, then, where their reputation stands after this week’s cash for influence affair. However, after falling so spectacularly for a simple undercover television sting, it is perhaps the intelligence of such politicians that is now more in question. Why did people who are supposed to possess the intelligence to run our country not have the intelligence to see through such a thin spoof?
I produced and directed the Dispatches programme Politicians for Hire, which revealed senior politicians, including former cabinet ministers Stephen Byers, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt, offering their lobbying services in return for cash. Looking through the many hours of footage, the question that I asked myself continually was how people who helped run this country for many years could have even turned up for those interviews, let alone said what they did.