Lobbying scandal: Rifkind falls on his sword

Malcom Rifkind has announced that he is stepping down as chair of the intelligence and security committee and as a member of parliament, a day after videos emerged showing him trying to secure employment with a made-up Chinese firm.

The Tory MP for Kensington had already been suspended from the parliamentary party and is under investigation by parliament's standards watchdog.

In a statement he said:

"None of the current controversy with which I am associated is relevant to my work as chairman of the intelligence and security committee of parliament.

"However I am today informing my colleagues that while I will remain a member of the committee I will step down from the chairmanship.

"The committee is due to be dissolved in a little over a month with the prorogation of parliament for the forthcoming general election. The main substantive work which needs to be completed will be the publication of our privacy and security report during March.

"I do not want the work of the committee and the publication of the report to be, in any way, distracted or affected by controversy as to my personal position. I have concluded therefore that it is better that this important work should be presided over by a new chairman."

Kensington is a very safe Tory seat, where Rifkind won 50.1% of the vote in 2010.