Tory MP Says Keith Vaz Must Stand Down From Justice Committee Over Drug Allegations

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By Miles Goslett | 6:42 am, November 12, 2016

A Tory MP has called on Labour MP Keith Vaz to stand down from a key House of Commons select committee until police have concluded a drugs investigation involving him.

Andrew Bridgen said this morning that Vaz must stand aside from his post on the Justice Select Committee.

In his Twitter message Bridgen wrote: “Keith Vaz must stand down from the Justice Committee until the Police have concluded all of their investigations into his affairs.”

His comments came hours after the Met confirmed it is investigating Vaz for alleged drug offences which were originally reported by the Sunday Mirror.

In September the paper claimed Vaz paid for the services of two rent boys. Its story also alleged Vaz suggested to one of the rent boys that he would fund the purchase of cocaine, although he said he would not use the drug himself.

It published secret recordings to back up the allegations.

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

Previously, in his capacity as chairman of the Commons Home Affairs select committee, Vaz had opposed government attempts to criminalise the drug. Ministers later announced they would remain within the law.

Following September’s allegations in the Sunday Mirror, Bridgen wrote to Scotland Yard calling for Vaz to be investigated for misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to supply controlled substances.

One of the Met’s specialist teams then began an assessment process to see “what criminal offences – if any – may have been committed”.

Last night 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.”

Although Vaz stood down as chairman of the Home Affairs select committee as a result of the Sunday Mirror’s report, he was nominated by Labour to join the powerful Justice select committee just a few weeks later.

In a highly unusual intervention, Bridgen tried to block this last month.

But – bizarrely – his attempt was unsuccessful after the Conservatives forced their own MPs to back Vaz’s appointment.

MPs voted by 203 to seven to allow Vaz to join the committee.

Bridgen clashed with the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, as he tried to explain in the chamber why he felt Vaz should not serve on it.

Some Westminster insiders said at the time that the Conservatives’ behaviour in forcing so many of its own MPs to install a scandal-hit Labour MP onto a key committee was a stain on the reputation of the House of Commons.