The Prime Minister has refused to support Mark Pritchard, as the senior Conservative MP referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, following a Telegraph investigation into his business dealings
David Cameron’s official spokesman declined to comment on the allegations against Mr Pritchard.
The Telegraph revealed that the MP for The Wrekin offered to use his political contacts to set up business deals with foreign officials and ministers in return for being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds .
I think this is now being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards,” said the spokesman.
He added: “Parliament has its rules and procedures and it’s important that they are followed.”
In a series of meetings, Mr Pritchard told an undercover reporter that he could use his “network” to set up meetings with politicians in countries where he had parliamentary connections.
Mr Pritchard sits on official parliamentary groups for many of those countries where, in return for payment, he was offering to broker investments and to arrange meetings with senior government figures.
Parliamentary rules ban MPs from seeking to profit from their positions and warns politicians to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
Mr Pritchard also stands accused of using a Nato parliamentary assembly to discuss business opportunities with contacts.
The MP suggested that the undercover reporter, posing as a foreign businessman, should invest £10 million in a group of boutique hotels in Albania. Mr Pritchard was formerly the chairman of the all party parliamentary group (APPG) for the country and is still a member of the committee.
He asked to be paid £3,000 a month for his consultancy services, as well as 3 per cent of any deal — meaning he could have received more than £300,000 to secure the investment in Albania.
Speaking about his contacts in the country, he said: “To be completely brutal, I know the mayor, I know the prime minister, I know the speaker.
“I don’t lobby. I don’t, whatever. But my network I will use.”
He added: “So it would be the figure that I’ve mentioned, but also it would be 3 per cent, and this is in, I’ll email you my contract, 3 per cent of the gross amount for the introduction on the signing of the contract.”
Mr Pritchard said that he had “acted entirely properly, consistent with the letter and spirit of the MPs’ Code of Conduct” and did not “accept that my business interests conflict with my parliamentary duties”.
Mr Pritchard said that “meetings with friends and business contacts” were in his own time when he travelled on Parliamentary trips and that “many of my European and Balkans friends were made before I entered Parliament”.