After seeking advice from prosecutors, Britain’s Scotland Yard on Friday decided to open an investigation against senior Labour MP Keith Vaz, who featured in a tabloid’s sting operation reports in September that said he was with male escorts and offered to pay for drugs.
The reports led to Goa-origin Vaz resigning as chairman of the influential home affairs select committee of parliament. He also faces a probe by the parliamentary standards commissioner for alleged breach of the code of conduct applicable to MPs.
After the reports appeared, the police had started an assessment process to determine if any laws had been broken by Vaz, and have now concluded a formal investigation is necessary.
Scotland Yard 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.”
Vaz, who apologised to his family after the tabloid reports, 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.”
Vaz was recently appointed member of the justice committee of parliament, despite opposition from some MPs.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told MPs: “I would leave the house with this question: If the right honourable member for Leicester East (Vaz) found himself last month to be not fit to be chair of the home affairs select committee and the matters are unresolved, what makes him think that he is a fit and proper person this month?”