Britain’s parliamentary standards commissioner will open an investigation into the alleged breach of MPs’ Code of Conduct by senior Labour lawmaker Keith Vaz, who was allegedly linked to male prostitutes with references to drugs as revealed by tabloids recently.
Scotland Yard is currently assessing whether any criminal offences had been committed during Vaz's encounter with the male escorts at his London flat in August. The Sunday Mirror’s expose also included references to drugs.
The standards commissioner said Vaz was among MPs who are currently the subject of its investigations, but added that the move had been suspended pending the outcome of the assessment by Scotland Yard.
The commissioner is specifically looking at the alleged breach by Vaz of two paragraphs in the Code of Conduct of the House of Commons applicable to MPs.
Para 10 states: “Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.”
According to para 16 of the code, “Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally.”
Vaz, the senior-most MP of Indian or Asian origin elected from Leicester East since 1987, resigned as chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee of Parliament after the expose. There are also questions over his continued membership of a key Labour committee.
The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards deals with the application of the Code of Conduct and related rules that apply to members of Parliament. This includes the registration of financial interests held by MPs and the investigation of allegations that MPs have breached the rules set out in the Code of Conduct.