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After a week of criticism from rivals, Daily Telegraph’s ‘cash for access’ expose provides ‘perfect response’

By William Turvill

The Daily Telegraph has been praised today for its “cash for access” undercover work with Channel 4’s Dispatches.

The newspaper’s front page story was described as the “perfect response” for the Telegraph after last week coming under fire over allegations that its editorial coverage of HSBC was compromised by its commercial department.

The Telegraph alleges today that former foreign secretaries Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind offered to use their positions as MPs “on behalf of a fictitious Chinese company in return for payments of at least £5,000 per day”.

Straw asked to be suspended form the Labour Party pending the outcome of a parliamentary investigation.

The newspaper, which conducted the investigation with Dispatches, reported that Straw said he operated “under the radar” to influence EU law on behalf of a commodity firm.

Rifkind, meanwhile, told undercover reporters that he was “self-employed” and said he would submit questions to ministers on behalf of a paying client without revealing their identity, according to the newspaper.

The story was has been widely followed up today, and made it on to the front page of The Times.

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On Saturday, The Daily Telegraph was widely criticised for running a front page story reporting the suicides of two News UK commercial staff.

Last week, Peter Oborne resigned from the Telegraph and claimed its coverage of the "HSBC files" had been influenced by commercial concerns.

Below is some of the reaction to the Telegraph and Dispatches revelations today:

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