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Vaz quits: Beleaguered MP bows out of Select Committee after rent boy revelations

Published 06/09/2016

A newspaper alleged that Keith Vaz paid for the services of male escorts
A newspaper alleged that Keith Vaz paid for the services of male escorts

Labour MP Keith Vaz has announced that he will quit as chairman of the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee after he was embroiled in rent boy revelations.

Announcing his resignation, the Labour MP said: "Those who hold others to account must themselves be accountable."

Mr Vaz's statement had been circulated to media under an embargo until later on Tuesday but it was widely reported on social media.

Following reports in the Sunday Mirror at the weekend that he had paid escorts and discussed the use of legal and illegal drugs, the Leicester East MP initially told reporters he planned to stand aside as chairman "with immediate effect".

But he later said publicly that he wanted to discuss the situation with committee members before deciding how to proceed.

In a public signal that he was determined not to be cowed by allegations, he appeared in the House of Commons chamber to ask questions on Monday, while his lawyers sent a letter warning Tory MP Andrew Bridgen not to spread "defamatory" rumours about him.

Prime Minister Theresa May stepped up pressure when she said that voters must be able to have confidence in their politicians.

Speaking during a visit to China, Mrs May said: "What Keith does is for Keith and any decisions he wishes to make are for him."

But she added: "I have always been clear throughout my political career that what is important for people is that they feel that they are able to have confidence in their politicians. That is what I think we all have a duty to provide for those who elect us."

Mr Vaz, who has publicly apologised to his wife and children for causing them "hurt and distress", is facing a possible investigation by Commons' sleaze watchdogs.

The Sunday Mirror 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, though there was no suggestion that the charity's money was used.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn indicated there was no need for Mr Vaz to stand down from the party, stating: "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."

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