British MP Keith Vaz stands down as head of committee after newspaper allegations

Mr Vaz said "those who hold others to account must themselves be accountable"

British MP Keith Vaz stands down as head of committee after newspaper allegations

Keith Vaz MP. Image: PA / PA Archive/Press Association Images

British MP Keith Vaz has stood down as chairman of a parliamentary commission in the wake of newspaper allegations, saying: "Those who hold others to account must themselves be accountable."

The Leicester East MP is due to meet colleagues later following newspaper reports he paid two male escorts for sex.

Mr Vaz, who has publicly apologised to his wife and children for the "hurt and distress" caused, had been under pressure to quit the powerful home affairs select committee, whose members were threatening a vote of no confidence in Mr Vaz if he did not resign.

The Labour MP, who emerged smiling as he left his London home, said in a statement it was in the "best interest" of the committee for it to conduct its business "without any distractions".

"This is my decision, and mine alone, and my first consideration has been the effect of recent events on my family," he said.

He still faces a possible investigation by the House of Commons' sleaze watchdog over the allegations.

The high-profile politician returned to work on Monday and asked questions in the chamber about terror suspects who have fled Britain to join Islamic State, as well as the war in Yemen where he was born.

Mr Vaz is alleged to have met the escorts at a flat he owns near his family home in north London last month, according to the Sunday Mirror.

It also claimed money was paid into an account used by one of the escorts by a man linked to a charity set up by the MP.

There is no suggestion the payment was made by the charity or that its money was involved.

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

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

He stated: "Well, he hasn't committed any crime that I know of. As far as I'm aware it is a private matter, and I will obviously be talking to Keith."

Prime Minister Theresa May said voters must be able to have "confidence" in their politicians, adding: "What Keith does is for Keith, and any decisions he wishes to make are for him".