Se­nior Bri­tish MP re­signs over male pros­ti­tute scan­dal

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A SE­NIOR Bri­tish law­maker re­signed as head of an in­flu­en­tial par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee this week after be­com­ing em­broiled in a scan­dal in­volv­ing drugs and male pros­ti­tutes.

Keith Vaz from the op­po­si­tion Labour Party, a mar­ried father of two and one of the first Bri­tish Asian min­is­ters, was recorded pay­ing two es­corts for their ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Sun­day Mir­ror.

“Those who hold others to ac­count must them­selves be ac­count­able,” Mr Vaz said on Septem­ber 5.

He said he was step­ping down to al­low the com­mit­tee’s “im­por­tant work” to be car­ried out “without any dis­trac­tions what­so­ever”.

“I am gen­uinely sorry that re­cent events make it im­pos­si­ble for this to hap­pen if I re­main chair,” he said.

Mr Vaz, a 59-year-old for­mer Europe min­is­ter un­der ex-pre­mier Tony Blair, chairs a pow­er­ful home af­fairs par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee which con­ducts probes into im­mi­gra­tion, drugs poli­cies and sex work­ers.

The story, re­counted in lurid de­tail typ­i­cal of Bri­tain’s ag­gres­sive tabloid press, has pro­voked a de­bate about whether the news­pa­per in­truded un­fairly into Mr Vaz’s pri­vate life.

The Sun­day Mir­ror has jus­ti­fied its re­port­ing on the ba­sis that there is a pub­lic in­ter­est in ex­pos­ing Mr Vaz given his role in scru­ti­n­is­ing leg­is­la­tion on sex work­ers and drugs.

He was filmed and recorded meet­ing the es­corts at a flat he owns near his home in north Lon­don last month, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

In one con­ver­sa­tion with an es­cort pub­lished in the tabloid and its sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion the Daily Mir­ror, Mr Vaz re­port­edly of­fered to buy co­caine for a later date, although he said he would not take any him­self.

He also asked an es­cort to bring the party drug pop­pers with him for their en­counter. Mr Vaz has pre­vi­ously said in par­lia­ment that he would vote to ban pop­pers if the drug was proved to be harm­ful.

Mr Vaz, born in Ye­men to In­dian par­ents from Goa, was first elected to par­lia­ment in 1987 for Le­ices­ter East in cen­tral Eng­land. –

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