London : An investigation has been opened into Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin lawmaker Keith Vaz over alleged drug offences, the Scotland Yard said.
Vaz, 59, resigned as chair of parliament’s influential home affairs select committee in September amid a sex scandal over allegations involving male prostitutes. The Metropolitan Police had said it was assessing if there was evidence to open a criminal investigation.
“Following that assessment, which included obtaining early investigative advice from the Crown Prosecution Service, the Metropolitan police service is now investigating offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The investigation started on Thursday November 10,” the Met Police said in a statement.
A ‘Sunday Mirror’ article on September 4 said the Labour MP had paid male escorts and was secretly recorded offering to pay for cocaine if it was brought to a future meeting. He, however, had stressed that he did not want any himself.
He was also accused of encouraging others to use poppers, an illegal party drug. The Met had received a letter soon after asking them to investigate.
The correspondence was passed on to a specialist team, which “started an assessment process to identify what criminal offences – if any – may have been committed”.
Vaz, who had apologised to his family after the newspaper allegations, said on Friday: “I welcome a full investigation as a means of establishing the true facts and I am confident the police will pursue all lines of enquiry. I will cooperate with the investigation in any way I can.”