Father of two

A Daily Mirror story today reports (with photos and audio to back it up) that Labour MP Keith Vaz paid for two Romanian male prostitutes to visit him in a London flat he owns. He was (until today) the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Mr Vaz, a father of two, was last night said to have made it clear that he will step aside as chairman of the committee, which is currently examining prostitution in the UK, after the allegations were made public.

Conflict of interest, wot?

The Sunday Mirror alleged the MP had two meetings with the escorts, including a 90-minute session on August 27.

One text, reportedly sent by Mr Vaz, said the men should arrive at “11pm, nice and late”. He is said to have added: “I want a good time please.”

Other messages, which the paper claims to have seen, also allegedly show Mr Vaz telling the men they needed to “get the party started”.

Mr Vaz is accused of asking the young men to bring poppers to the flat, as well as allegedly joking about being a “pimp”. It is claimed he also said he did not use a condom in a previous sexual  encounter.

There’s a bit in the Mirror story (which is uncomfortable to read) showing a text where Vaz says one of the prostitutes will need “breaking.”

A Labour Party spokeswoman told the Press Association: “Keith Vaz has issued a statement on this matter.

“As with all departmental select committees, Keith was elected to the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee by the House of Commons and his position is a matter for him and the House.”

The Home Affairs Committee is currently carrying out a review of prostitution laws.

A punter should not be chairing, or on, such a committee.

Matthew Norman at the Independent looks at Vaz’s…adaptability.

His mental flexibility, meanwhile, places Keith among the leading Parliamentary gymnasts of the age. Early in his Westminster days, this political Olga Korbut went, within weeks, from backing Salman Rushdie in his struggle against the Iranian fatwah to leading a march of Muslims through Leicester demanding the banning of The Satanic Verses.


Overcoming these misunderstandings to maintain his committee chair status earned Vaz many admirers, but even his biggest fan will understand why he has felt compelled to vacate it now (if only for a while).

When the leader of a body that is currently overseeing major reforms to prostitution legislation is revealed to have had sex with male prostitutes, it does look a little like a conflict of interest. When it is also investigating the impact of cocaine, and its chair is recorded offering to fund its provision for visiting playmates, that doesn’t look great either.

Even discounting other revelations which have no legal implications – a request for sexual stamina-enhancing poppers; a reference to having “f****ed” a youthful Romanian without a condom in ignorance of whether the latter was free of STDs; introducing himself as an industrial washing machine salesman called Jim – this story may not play especially well in the court of public opinion.

But, he continues sardonically, it should be regarded as heroically dedicated research.

The lengths to which Keith Vaz went to educate himself about issues of interest to the committee he led were astonishing. For a long-married heterosexual man to risk HIV by having unprotected congress with men of whose medical status he knew nothing… look, “heroic” is a wildly overused word, but in these circumstances, what other adjective comes close?

I couldn’t possibly comment.

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