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Shamed MP in fresh row over Iranian TV show

PUBLISHED: 15:54 29 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:35 25 August 2010

CRITICISED: MP Derek Conway has come under fire for his job on Iranian TV.

CRITICISED: MP Derek Conway has come under fire for his job on Iranian TV.

AN MP has come under fire for presenting a television show funded by the Iranian government.

AN MP has come under fire for presenting a television show funded by the Iranian government.

MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup Derek Conway is being paid up to £5,000 for presenting the 25-minute book programme Epilogue on presstv, the Iranian state's English-language satellite channel.

But even though the shamed MP, who was sacked by the Conservatives after a scandal over his expenses, declared the new job in the Register of Members' Interests last Wednesday, he refused to reveal his contract details or the exact amount he was being paid.

One MP has slammed Mr Conway for taking cash from the Iranian government due to its "appalling" human rights record.

The Liberal Democrat candidate for his seat, Duncan Borrowman, said: "I wouldn't be very happy with any MP doing it, even if they were from my party.

"They said there is freedom of press but it is closely biased towards the Iranian government, even if it is only a show about books.

"I wouldn't like my local MP taking money from them."

But Mr Conway said he is not the only British MP to appear on the channel, citing Liberal Democrat Norman Baker.

Mr Conway said: "Mr Borrowman is typically trying to make mischief and maybe he should address his concern to his Liberal Democrat colleagues before seeking to denigrate my name in his usual gutter-politics style.

"Politicians from all three major parties have appeared on pressTV."

But Mr Baker claims he was never paid to be on the channel as he was a guest and not a presenter.

Mr Conway said: "Presenting this book review show is not part of my work as an MP and I have declared the interest in the public Register of Interests nonetheless and before I accepted any payment.

"Many MPs from all parties have outside interests, as this is for me."

The Conservative candidate for Conway's seat James Brokenshire said taking money from the Iranian government is something he would not do.

The MP for Hornchurch said: "I don't have any outside interests.

"It is something that I wouldn't do myself but it is for Derek to take that judgement.

"I condemn the Iranian government for the way they treat people who have views contrary to their own and the way they use the death penalty."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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