UK Politics

Police probe following Keith Vaz Sunday Mirror drug claims

Keith Vaz Image copyright Reuters

Police are investigating possible drug offences following a Sunday Mirror story about the Labour MP Keith Vaz.

Mr Vaz quit as chairman of the Home Affairs Select committee in September after the paper claimed he paid for the services of two male escorts.

According to the newspaper, the MP also indicated to one of the men that he would pay for cocaine, although he said he would not use the drug himself.

Mr Vaz, 59, said he welcomed the police's investigation.

The police said they would not confirm or comment on the identity of anyone involved.

'Deeply disturbing'

The Sunday Mirror story in September included photographs and secret recordings it said were of Mr Vaz with the sex workers in a north London flat he owns.

Drugs, including cocaine, were mentioned during a secretly-recorded conversation.

The recording also included a discussion about using the party drug known as poppers.

Mr Vaz had opposed government attempts to criminalise the drug. Ministers later announced they would remain within the law.

Following the initial allegations, Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said he would be writing to Scotland Yard calling for Mr Vaz to be investigated for misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to supply controlled substances.

Scotland Yard said police had received a letter on 7 September asking them to look into the matter.

The force said one of its specialist teams then began an assessment process to see "what criminal offences - if any - may have been committed".

A spokesman said: "Following that assessment, which included obtaining early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, the Metropolitan Police Service is now investigating offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

"The investigation started on Thursday 10 November."

Keith Vaz biography:

  • Born to Goan parents in Aden, Yemen, he went to Cambridge University where he studied law and then became a solicitor
  • The Labour Party politician has been MP for Leicester East since 1987
  • He is Parliament's longest-serving British Asian MP and chaired the influential Home Affairs Select Committee from 2007 to September 2016
  • He was Britain's Minister for Europe under Tony Blair and said the vote to leave the EU was a "catastrophe"
  • His sister Valerie is Labour MP for Walsall South
  • Appointed to the Justice Select Committee in October 2016

Keith Vaz - the 'Teflon politician'

Mr Vaz, the Leicester East MP and a married father-of-two, resigned as chairman of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee two days after the Sunday Mirror's report.

In a statement he said: "I welcome a full investigation as a means of establishing the true facts and I am confident the police will pursue all lines of enquiry.

"I will cooperate with the investigation in any way I can."

Last month Mr Vaz joined the Commons justice committee after Mr Bridgen tried to block the appointment.

The Conservative MP has since called for Mr Vaz to stand down from that committee until any police investigations have concluded.

He also called on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to suspend Mr Vaz from the party while the police investigate.

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