Keith Vaz set to quit as chair of home affairs select committee

Labour MP expected to step down from parliamentary committee after tabloid claims that he paid for male prostitutes

Keith Vaz is expected to stand down as chair of a parliamentary select committee after the reporting of allegations involving sex workers and drugs.

An informed source told the Guardian the Labour MP will tell the home affairs select committee that he will step down as chair at a meeting in parliament on Tuesday.

Vaz has faced a string of claims against him after a Sunday Mirror sting accused him of paying for male prostitutes, discussing the use of recreational drugs, such as cocaine, and encouraging others to use poppers.

It remains unclear, however, whether he will step down permanently or try to leave the door open for a possible return in the future.

A source said: “He will let them know his decision late today. He needs to let the committee continue its work.”

The committee is due to question the immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, from 3.30pm.

The BBC reported that committee members would give Vaz 24 hours to “reflect on his position” before he faces a possible no confidence vote.

A senior member of the committee told the BBC that Vaz would be given the opportunity to “justify himself”, adding that he was “pretty sure” Vaz would at least stand aside on a temporary basis.

On Monday, Theresa May increased the pressure on Vaz by calling for MPs to maintain the public’s confidence in them or consider their positions.

Speaking at the G20 summit in China, the prime minister said: “What has been clear throughout my political career, and what is important for people, is that they feel they are able to have confidence in their politicians, and that is what we have a duty to apply for those who elect us.

“What Keith does is for Keith and any decisions he wishes to make are for him. But overall, what people want is confidence in their politicians.”

The Sunday Mirror reported that Vaz had paid for the services of male prostitutes and had asked one of them to bring along poppers, a sex-enhancing drug that the government nearly banned earlier this year.

Vaz has apologised to his family, but condemned the tactics of the newspaper reporters.

On Monday, he appeared in the House of Commons chamber to take part in questions to the home secretary, Amber Rudd. He welcomed Rudd to her role and asked about terrorist suspects who had fled Britain while on police bail to join Islamic State. Vaz made no mention of the newspaper reports.

The MP for Leicester East could face an investigation by the commissioner for standards over the newspaper claims. It was alleged that he met male eastern European sex workers at a flat he owns in north London. According to the paper, Vaz asked one of the men in a text message sent before the encounter to bring poppers.

Vaz had argued in parliament that poppers should not be included in a list of substances banned by the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act. In the Sunday Mirror, he is quoted as telling the escorts that he did not use poppers himself.

Vaz reportedly told the men that his name was Jim and he was a washing machine salesman. He was quoted discussing with the men the possibility of obtaining cocaine for the next time they met, although Vaz reportedly said he would not want to take the drug himself.

Following claims by Vaz’s friends that the MP may have been drugged during the sting, the Daily Mirror released new details on Monday night of the alleged encounter, which the paper claims was the second meeting between Vaz and the two sex workers. It included a transcript of him allegedly ordering them to take up sexual positions. The Mirror claims it is proof that he was in control of the situation.


Rajeev Syal and Peter Walker

The GuardianTramp

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