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UK lawmaker steps down from committee post amid sex scandal

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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.

Vaz made clear his decision to members of the committee at a meeting this afternoon, and says he came to the conclusion so that "its important work can be conducted without any distractions whatsoever".

In a statement the married father-of-two said: "I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it impossible for this to happen if I remain Chair".

He was the parliament's longest-serving British Asian MP and has chaired the influential Home Affairs Select Committee since 2007.

"He apologised to the committee for the trouble this has caused and obviously acknowledges that and these are private matters he will have to deal with".

The former Labour minister said in a statement: "Those who hold others to account must themselves be accountable".

"It is remarkable that he has been chairman of the select committee for nine years - the longest serving select committee chair".

His successor will be chosen in the next few weeks.

"Keith has done a fine job chairing our committee for nearly a decade, a view widely shared across the House", Umunna said.

If Mr Vaz does not stand down it is possible that the committee could hold a vote of no confidence.

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She said there should then be an election of a new committee chair involving all MPs.

Vaz said he has referred the newspaper allegations to his lawyer, "who will consider them carefully and advise me accordingly".

The committee's inquiries into issues like prostitution or drugs "demand an objective view and one that isn't likely to be conflicted and isn't liable to be undermined or compromised", said Mr Burrowes.

"What has been exposed through the papers meant he was fatally compromised to continue as chair", he said.

The Prime Minister said MPs have a duty to their constituents but stressed that decisions on his future were a matter for Mr Vaz.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who represents the neighbouring North West Leicestershire constituency, was set to write to Scotland Yard, the Charity Commission and the Commons' standards watchdog calling on them to investigate the allegations. He gave a very frank account of what had happened and he told us of his intention to resign as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. In the meantime Conservative MP Tim Loughton has taken over as interim chairman.

"With sadness, we all accepted that that was the appropriate course of action that he has taken and we also appreciate the many challenges facing him personally and his family".

He pointed out that the investigation was initiated by another member of the committee.

Members applauded Mr Vaz as he left the room afterwards.

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