Sir Malcolm Leslie Rifkind is a British Conservative politician who served as a cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Scotland (1986–1990), Defence Secretary (1992–1995) and Foreign Secretary (1995–1997). In February 2015, after the "cash for access scandal", he was first suspended from the Conservative Party; then, he stood down as chair of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee and announced that he would not be standing at the May 2015 General Election. In 2017 he dismissed the VIPaedophile claims against the late Edward Heath as "unsubstantiated gossip".
Malcolm Rifkind was the MP for Edinburgh Pentlands from 1974 to 1997, when he lost his seat to Labour's Lynda Clark. He attempted - unsuccessfully - to re-gain the seat at the 2001 General Election, following which the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency was abolished. This prompted Rifkind to be parachuted into the safe Conservative seat of Kensington and Chelsea upon the retirement of Michael Portillo.
Malcolm Rifkind announced his intention to seek the leadership of the party before the 2005 Conservative Party leadership election, but withdrew before balloting commenced. He was Chairman of the Standards and Privileges Committee of the House of Commons during the 2005–2010 parliament.
Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee
Rifkind stood for the Kensington seat and was elected at the 2010 General Election with a majority of 8,616 votes. He was appointed Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, on 6 July 2010. He told the BBC that the security service's record in the last few years had been "hugely impressive", as proven by the litany of plots foiled and successful "terrorism" prosecutions.
Libya and Syria
In March 2011, Sir Malcolm Rifkind wrote in The Guardian that, although the first Libyan battle had been won, "this will not be sufficient to defend civilian centres from further aggression. To do that, Gaddafi's conventional forces have to be neutralised in order to bring the shelling of towns and cities to an end, something that can only be achieved by targeted strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery." Rifkind acknowledged that such military action would go beyond what was authorised by UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
Cash for access scandal
On 23 February 2015, Sir Malcolm Rifkind was suspended from the Conservative Party after being filmed boasting to a fictitious Chinese firm about his high-level defence contacts and membership of an international panel of nuclear security experts.
On 24 February 2015, Rifkind resigned as chairman of Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) after facing calls from colleagues to stand down following the Telegraph’s disclosure of his involvement in a new “cash for access scandal”. Sir Malcolm also announced that he would step down from Parliament in May 2015. He admitted that he “may have made errors of judgment” but insisted he has done nothing wrong.
Sir Malcolm, who was offering his services in return for payments of at least £5,000 per day, boasted to undercover reporters from the Telegraph and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme of the contacts he acquired during his time as Defence Secretary. He also brought up his membership of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) specialist nuclear security committee. In January 2015 he was appointed by the OSCE as a member of their Eminent Persons Panel on European Security. Other members of the panel, the Global Agenda Council on Nuclear Security, include former and serving diplomats and other nuclear experts. And in a reference to the Aspen Strategy Group of former foreign ministers, he told the fictitious Chinese firm how he was in touch with a series of former ministers who had served at “a very senior level”, including Madeleine Albright, the former US Secretary of State:
- “She and I are good friends,” he said. “I worked with her when I was in Government and she chairs a group of 22 former foreign ministers.
- “I still have the contacts with all these people who have served at a very senior level. Some of them still do serve - are still active.”
- “But in addition to that I also, I am involved with the World Economic Forum, Davos, and they have a number of specialist committees – one of which looks at nuclear security, nuclear weapons security.
- “I was a defence minister so it’s an area that I have some interest in, so I have contacts in that area as well.” He added: “If you’ve done the kind of work I’ve done over the years without realising it, you find you know an awful lot of people.”
On 13 April 2004, The Guardian reported that former Conservative foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind had been appointed chairman of ArmorGroup, one of the largest private security firms operating in Iraq:
- Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who served in John Major's government during the 1990s, is now the prospective parliamentary candidate for Michael Portillo's safe Tory seat of Kensington and Chelsea. Sir Malcolm will be part-time and based in London. The US-owned company is not disclosing what his salary will be.
- According to its website, ArmorGroup has 7,500 employees in 50 locations including 650 employees in Iraq, as well as significant numbers in Afghanistan. It says its work is to "identify, reduce and resolve exceptional risks in complex, sometimes hostile, environments".
Events Participated in
|Bilderberg/1986||25 April 1986||27 April 1986||Scotland|
|The 34th Bilderberg, 109 participants|
|Bilderberg/1996||30 May 1996||2 June 1996||Canada|
|The 44th Bilderberg, held in Canada|
|Document:Libya: Fine, but why Britain||article||20 March 2011||Brian Barder||David Cameron seemingly Gung Ho on toppling the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, while Barack Obama takes a back seat|
|Document:Lockerbie Bombing and my Reinstatement in HM Diplomatic Service||letter||29 January 1997||Patrick Haseldine||Former diplomat Patrick Haseldine writes to former Prime Minister James Callaghan|
|Document:Reinstatement in HM Diplomatic Service||Letter||6 January 1997||Patrick Haseldine||A plea for reinstatement in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by "Thatcher's Whitehall Critic"|
- "Sir Malcolm Rifkind steps down as security committee chairman and as an MP"
- "The first Libyan battle is won"
- "Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw have whip withdrawn over 'sting'"
- "Sir Malcolm Rifkind boasted about high-level defence and nuclear contacts"
- "Rifkind made head of Iraq security firm"