This comes after our reporters, working with Channel Four's Dispatches programme, found that both Parliamentarians were offering to use their positions on behalf of a fictitious Chinese company in return for payments of at least £5,000 per day. Despite this, Parliament's Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson found that "there was no breach of the rules on paid lobbying" after accepting assurances from Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw that they were speaking "off the cuff" and were not intending to back up their words in meetings with actual actions. The Standards Committee in turn issued a thinly-veiled threat to journalists not to carry out such investigations in future, promising to "consider further the role of the press in furthering … understanding and detecting wrongdoing."
Can the public trust a regime where MPs are effectively marking their own homework? They now need a sensible outside watchdog. "The sorry tale of Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw and the standards committee's shameful response prove beyond doubt that MPs cannot be trusted to regulate themselves over lobbying," we say.
"Obviously the system is flawed...the House of Commons is incapable of regulating itself." Martin Bell
David Cameron today marked the first anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum by urging Nicola Sturgeon to "move on" and stop obsessing about breaking up the UK. This comes as Alex Salmond boasted to the Independent that the pro-independence side "would win" if there was another referendum. "One feels for the Prime Minister: he has enough battles to fight," Fraser Nelson writes in today's paper. "But the battle for Scotland is still very much one of them."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will get "nowhere near power", David Cameron has claimed. Michael Deacon was struck by the Prime Minister's "thumpingly frank" remarks, which did not mention Corbyn by name. "The Tory plan is...to make Mr Corbyn and the entire Labour party synonymous, so that Mr Corbyn's successors will be damaged by him too," he adds.
This comes as members of the Privy Council have warned Jeremy Corbyn that he will "embarrass" the Queen if he fails to kneel when he joins next month. Owen Paterson told Chris Hope: "He should grow up or go back to the back benches and play around like some sort of bearded activist." Dan Hodges sympathises with Corbyn, writing: "Let's not force him to his knees...let him keep his self-respect."
John McDonnell, Labour's shadow chancellor, has been forced to apologise "from the bottom of his heart" for saying the IRA should be honoured but faced criticism for attempting to "justify" his remarks by saving they helped to save lives.
Labour MP Jess Phillips has apologised after telling Diane Abbott to "f**k off" during a heated row about a lack of women in the top shadow cabinet jobs. Asked by HuffPostUK's Owen Bennett (no relation) what Ms Abbott did after her blunt request, she replied: "She f**ked off".