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Theresa May piles pressure on Keith Vaz, saying 'people need confidence in their politicians'

Published 05/09/2016

Keith Vaz said he did not want there to be any distraction from the work of the Home Affairs Select Committee
Keith Vaz said he did not want there to be any distraction from the work of the Home Affairs Select Committee

Theresa May piled fresh pressure on Keith Vaz over allegations he met male escorts, suggesting he should consider his position as an MP.

The veteran Labour MP will stand down temporarily as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee after the Sunday Mirror reported he met two Eastern European escorts at his London flat.

It was claimed that 59-year-old Mr Vaz boasted about having unprotected sex and offered to cover the cost of cocaine if it were brought to the flat, but refused to have any himself.

Asked, in China, if Mr Vaz had fallen below the standards required of an MP, the Prime Minister said: ‘I have always been clear throughout my political career that what is important for people is that they feel they are able to have confidence in their politicians.

“And that’s what I think we all have a duty to provide to those who elect us.

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

The comments were immediately seen as the Prime Minister putting Mr Vaz’s position in deeper jeopardy, ahead of a crucial meeting with Home Affairs Committee members on Tuesday.

He has indicated he will stand aside after publicly apologising to his wife and children for the “hurt and distress” he caused them. After laying low for 24 hours, he surprised colleagues on Monday afternoon by appearing in the Commons chamber for Home Affairs Questions.

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Keith Vaz set to quit after claims he paid male escorts for services  

The Leicester East MP is also facing a possible investigation by Commons sleaze watchdogs, having been reported by a Conservative backbencher.

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 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.

The Sunday Mirror also claimed that money was paid into an account used by one of the escorts by a man linked to a charity set up by the MP.

The Charity Commission said the regulator would consider becoming involved in the matter if it felt such action was needed.

A spokesman told the Press Association: “The Charity Commission is aware of the allegations made regarding an individual linked to the charity Silver Star.

"The commission has asked journalists to forward any details and evidence they have in order to determine whether there is a regulatory role for the commission.”

There is no suggestion in the newspaper report that the charity's money was used in the affair.

Ms May has repeatedly clashed with Mr Vaz in appearances before his committee during her time as Home Secretary.

Independent News Service

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