Senior Labour Party MP Keith Vaz resigned on Tuesday as chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee of parliament following a sting operation splashed by Sunday tabloids that showed him with male prostitutes at his London flat.
He said in a statement: "It is in the best interest of the Home Affairs Select Committee that its important work can be conducted without any distractions whatsoever. I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it impossible for this to happen if I remain chair. "
The Sunday Mirror had published pictures that it said showed Vaz, 59, with male sex workers, while illegal drugs were mentioned during a secretly recorded conversation. The committee examines issues related to drugs and prostitution in Britain.
Vaz, the senior-most MP of Indian-origin who has been at the forefront of Indian and Asian participation in British politics since the 1980s, was due to meet members of the panel but decided to step down from the role he has held for nine years even before the meeting.
He added in his statement: "The integrity of the select committee system matters to me. Those who hold others to account, must themselves be accountable. I am immeasurably proud of the work the committee has undertaken over the last nine years, and I am privileged to have been the longest serving chair of this committee.
"This work has included the publication of 120 reports, hearing evidence from ministers 113 times, and hearing from a total of 1379 witnesses. I am very pleased that so many members of the committee have gone onto high office and ministerial positions.
"This is my decision, and mine alone, and my first consideration has been the effect of recent events on my family," Vaz said.
Vaz said he had recommended that former Conservative minister Tim Loughton takes over as chairman of the committee before the full process of electing his successor is completed.
He added: "I would like to thank my fellow members of the committee, past and present, for their tremendous support. I would also like to thank the Clerks of the House for the amazing work they have done to strengthen the select committee system, we are not quite on par with the United States, but we are getting there."