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Keith Vaz resigned as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee

 

 

Keith Vaz has stood down as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee following allegations he paid two male escorts for sex.

The MP for Leicester East allegedly offered to cover the cost of cocaine if it was brought to his London flat, but refused to have any himself.

The 59-year-old reportedly met two Eastern European escorts at his property in Edgeware and boasted to them about having unprotected sex, the Sunday Mirror reported.

A series of text messages published by the newspaper allegedly show Mr Vaz asking for the legal high poppers to be brought to the meeting. The substance is widely used as a sex-enhancing drug.

Voice recordings of a 90-minute meeting on 27 August, also purport to show Mr Vaz examining pictures of men on the gay dating app Grindr.

Mr Vaz has publicly apologised to his wife and children for the “hurt and distress” he caused them.

The Home Affairs Select Committee is currently overseeing an inquiry into prostitution laws. An interim report recommended significant changes to existing laws so that soliciting and brothel-keeping are decriminalised.

In a statement, Mr Vaz said: “It is in the best interest of the Home Affairs Select Committee that its important work can be conducted without any distractions whatsoever. I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it impossible for this to happen if I remain Chair.

I have always been passionate about Select Committees, having served as either Chair or Member for half of my time in Parliament. The integrity of the Select Committee system matters to me. Those who hold others to account, must themselves be accountable.

“I am immeasurably proud of the work the Committee has undertaken over the last 9 years, and I am privileged to have been the longest serving Chair of this Committee.

This work has included the publication of 120 reports, hearing evidence from Ministers 113 times, and hearing from a total of 1379 witnesses.

I am very pleased that so many Members of the Committee have gone onto high office and Ministerial positions.

“I told the Committee today of my decision to stand aside immediately from Committee business, and my intention to resign. This is my decision, and mine alone, and my first consideration has been the effect of recent events on my family.

I have recommended that in the interim, Tim Loughton MP, the senior Conservative member, should Chair proceedings.

After speaking to the House authorities, I will formally tender my resignation to Mr Speaker so that it coincides with the timetable for the election of other Committee Chairs, such as the Brexit Committee, Culture, Media and Sport, and Science and Technology, so that the elections can take place together.

“I would like to thank my fellow members of the Committee, past and present, for their tremendous support.

I would also like to thank the Clerks of the House for the amazing work they have done to strengthen the Select Committee system, we are not quite on par with the United States, but we are getting there. They are a vital body for the scrutiny of government.

I would like to particularly thank my two Clerks, Tom Healey and Carol Oxborough.”

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