British MP faces sleaze watchdog investigation over sex claims

Labour's Keith Vaz returns to work in wake of allegations he paid for sex

keith vaz

Labour MP Keith Vaz leaves his home in Stanmore, London | Photo: PA Images

British MP Keith Vaz has returned to work despite facing a possible investigation by a Commons sleaze watchdog following claims he paid for sex.

The Labour politician arrived in the House of Commons as Home Office question time was underway and took his usual seat on the backbench.

He asked UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd a question about terror suspects who have fled Britain to join Islamic State while on police bail.

Mr Vaz is facing a possible sleaze watchdog investigation over reports he paid two male escorts for their services.

He is also under pressure to stand aside as chairman of the powerful Home Affairs Select Committee after apologising to his wife and children for the "hurt and distress" he caused them.

In response to the allegations, Prime Minister Theresa May said people must be able to have "confidence" in their politicians and added: "What Keith does is for Keith and any decisions he wishes to make are for him."

According to the Sunday Mirror, the MP for Leicester East allegedly met male escorts at a flat he owns near his family home in north London last month.

Charity

It was also claimed in the Sunday Mirror article that money was paid into an account used by one of the escorts by a man linked to a charity set up by Mr Vaz.

There is no suggestion that the payments were made by the charity or that their money was involved.

The Silver Star charity has told Sky News the allegations are "completely false" and it can prove it with bank statements.

The Sunday Mirror also reported Mr Vaz offered to pay for a Class A drug and discussed using the party drug "poppers".

The Home Affairs committee is considering a review of prostitution laws. Mr Vaz also opposed government attempts to criminalise poppers.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has indicated there was no need for Mr Vaz to stand down from the party.

In a statement, Mr Vaz said: "It is deeply disturbing that a national newspaper should have paid individuals to have acted in this way.

"I have referred these allegations to my solicitor Mark Stephens of Howard Kennedy who will consider them carefully and advise me accordingly.

"At this time I do not want there to be any distraction from the important work the Home Affairs Select Committee undertakes so well."