The Metropolitan Police have not opened an investigation into Labour MP Keith Vaz, after a tabloid reported he had sex with male prostitutes.
Married MP Mr Vaz, who held one of the most powerful backbench roles in Parliament, was outed by a Sunday Mirror sting last week.
The newspaper alleged that the Labour politician had sex with two male sex workers and offered to reimburse them if they bought cocaine – though he made clear he did not want any. He also asked them to bring poppers, which are legal.
There was no suggestion in the story that Mr Vaz, who has since quit as the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, broke any law – but Tory opponent Andrew Bridgen submitted a letter to the Metropolitan Police insisting the MP should be investigated for “possible misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to supply controlled substances.”
Responding to the letter, the Met said no investigation into the issue had been launched, but it would look at which laws “if any” had been.
A statement said: ““Following allegations in the Sunday Mirror on Sunday September 4 concerning a member of parliament, the Metropolitan Police Service can confirm a letter was received on Wednesday, September 7 requesting police consider the matter.
“The letter has been forwarded to the Met’s special inquiry team, part of specialist crime and operations, to assess and identify what criminal offences – if any – may have been committed.”
“At this stage a police investigation has not been launched.”
In his first full statement since the story broke, Mr Vaz said earlier this week: “It is in the best interest of the Home Affairs Select Committee that its important work can be conducted without any distractions whatsoever.
“I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it impossible for this to happen if I remain Chair. I have always been passionate about Select Committees, having served as either Chair or Member for half of my time in Parliament. The integrity of the Select Committee system matters to me. Those who hold others to account, must themselves be accountable
“I am immeasurably proud of the work the Committee has undertaken over the last 9 years, and I am privileged to have been the longest serving Chair of this Committee. This work has included the publication of 120 reports, hearing evidence from Ministers 113 times, and hearing from a total of 1379 witnesses. I am very pleased that so many Members of the Committee have gone onto high office and Ministerial positions.
“This work has included the publication of 120 reports, hearing evidence from Ministers 113 times, and hearing from a total of 1379 witnesses. I am very pleased that so many Members of the Committee have gone onto high office and Ministerial positions.
“I told the Committee today of my decision to stand aside immediately from Committee business, and my intention to resign. This is my decision, and mine alone, and my first consideration has been the effect of recent events on my family.
“I have recommended that in the interim, Tim Loughton MP, the senior Conservative member, should Chair proceedings.”
He added: “After speaking to the House authorities, I will formally tender my resignation to Mr Speaker so that it coincides with the timetable for the election of other Committee Chairs, such as the Brexit Committee, Culture, Media and Sport, and Science and Technology, so that the elections can take place together.
“I would like to thank my fellow members of the Committee, past and present, for their tremendous support. I would also like to thank the Clerks of the House for the amazing work they have done to strengthen the Select Committee system, we are not quite on par with the United States, but we are getting there. They are a vital body for the scrutiny of government. I would like to particularly thank my two Clerks, Tom Healey and Carol Oxborough.”
“I would also like to thank the Clerks of the House for the amazing work they have done to strengthen the Select Committee system, we are not quite on par with the United States, but we are getting there.
“They are a vital body for the scrutiny of government. I would like to particularly thank my two Clerks, Tom Healey and Carol Oxborough.”
Parts of the press have responded to the story with homophobia.
Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts branded Mr Vaz ‘camp’ and ‘flamboyant’ in an article which mocked him as “a cut-price Lady Bracknell”.
Meanwhile, the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes branded Mr Vaz a “nonce” in a cartoon which showed him watching “Strictly Come Noncing”.