Sunday 19 November 2017

British MP poised to step aside after allegations of gay sex with escorts

Shaun Connolly

British Labour MP Keith Vaz is poised to stand down as chairman of the influential Commons Home Affairs committee after a newspaper alleged that he paid for the services of male escorts.

Britain's 'Sunday Mirror' tabloid alleged Mr Vaz met the men at his flat in north west London on August 27.

In a statement, Mr Vaz said: "It is deeply disturbing that a national newspaper should have paid individuals to have acted in this way.

"I have referred these allegations to my solicitor, who will consider them carefully and advise me accordingly.

"At this time, I do not want there to be any distraction from the important work the Home Affairs Select Committee undertakes so well. I will of course inform committee members first of my plans when we meet on Tuesday.

"My decision has been based entirely on what is in the best interests of the committee, which I have had the privilege of chairing for the last nine years."

In another statement, the Leicester East MP said: "I am genuinely sorry for the hurt and distress caused by my actions, in particular to my wife and children.

"I will be informing the committee of my intention to stand aside from chairing the sessions of the committee with immediate effect."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn insisted that the claims were a private matter.

"He is going to meet the Home Affairs Select Committee and discuss with them what his role will be in the future. I'm not sure what that decision will be.

"I leave it to him to decide on that," he said.

Asked whether he was happy for Mr Vaz to remain in the Labour Party, Mr Corbyn said: "Well, he hasn't committed any crime that I know of. As far as I'm aware it is a private matter and I will obviously be talking to Keith."

The Home Affairs Committee is currently probing a review of prostitution laws. Mr Vaz is married with two children.

Irish Independent

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