British MPs expressed their disappointment for having to support Keith Vaz’s membership of a key committee of the House of Commons, after the senior Labour MP figured in a sting operation showing his involvement with drugs and male prostitutes.
The MPs voted 203 to seven to support Vaz’s membership of the Justice Committee after voting was forced in a process that is usually uncontested.
Membership of parliament committees are allotted to parties based on their strength in the house.
The Conservative party issued a whip to its members to support Vaz in the hope that in future, such appointments would remain uncontentious and fearing that a vote against Vaz would set a precedent.
But the whip has caused much unease since Vaz had to resign after the sting operation as chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee.
His name had been put forward by Labour when there was a vacancy on the Justice Committee.
Conservative MP James Duddridge said: “I did feel the whole issue was bringing the House into disrepute.”
Scotland Yard is deciding whether to investigate Vaz after the sting operation, but Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen revealed that Vaz was also being probed by the Leicestershire Police.
Bridgen said: “The debate and vote will only increase the percentage of people in the country who despair with our politics and our politicians. In no other sphere of activity would I ever believe that a candidate with that hanging over them would ever be considered for such a position.”
Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said he thought it was "appalling judgment" for the Conservative whips to support somebody who is facing such an investigation.
“It looks like they are looking after their own here, he might not be a Tory, but he is a Member of Parliament. I think the public will take a dim view of such a a poor quality judgement,” he said.