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Lord Sewel faces police probe as he quits over drugs and hookers film

By Ian Johnston

A peer who served as a minister under Tony Blair has quit as the House of Lords' Deputy Speaker and is facing a police investigation after he was filmed allegedly snorting drugs off a prostitute.

Lord Sewel was filmed by a hidden camera as he cavorted with two women in his flat in Dolphin Square, Pimlico.

The video, obtained by the Sun on Sunday newspaper, also appears to show him paying one of the women £200.

At one point, one of the escorts tells him: "You're such a party animal!" He apparently responds: "I know. Disgusting, isn't it?"

The married peer was also taped saying he wanted an Asian prostitute to join them, adding: "They sort of look innocent but you know they're whores. That's a really nice combination isn't it?"

Baroness D'Souza, the Speaker of the Lords, announced in a statement that Lord Sewel had resigned as Chairman of Committees, who presides over the Lords when it is in committee.

"Today's revelations about the behaviour of Lord Sewel are both shocking and unacceptable," she said. "The House of Lords will continue to uphold standards in public life and will not tolerate departure from these standards.

"These serious allegations will be referred to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards and the Metropolitan Police for investigation as a matter of urgency."

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard said it was "aware of the Sun's front page and we'll investigate any allegations made to us".

In the film, Lord Sewel, who as part of his Deputy Speaker role was responsible for enforcing standards in the Lords, is seen snorting lines of white power - at one point off one of the women's breasts - through a rolled-up five-pound note. He refers to the women as "whores". He was recorded telling the women: "I just want to be led astray."

Despite receiving a salary of £84,500 as Chairman of Committees, he complains in the footage that he finds it difficult to afford the £1,000-a-month rent for his flat. He suggests his job is less lucrative following the expenses scandal.

Earlier this month, Lord Sewel, who served as an agriculture minister under Mr Blair, wrote an article for the Huffington Post website in which he trumpeted "new, stronger sanctions" to suspend and expel peers who break the rules.

"Scandals make good headlines. Preventive measures seldom do. It is not surprising that more column inches are devoted to scandals than to measures taken by the House to prevent wrongdoing by its Members," he wrote.

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