Keith Vaz Quits As Home Affairs Committee Chairman After Claims He Paid For Sex

After an evacuation because of a fire alarm, Tory MP Tim Loughton – who has taken over as Committee Chairman on an interim basis – gave a press conference.

Loughton said Vaz provided a “very frank account” of what had happened, and added: “The committee listened, I think in sadness, to what Keith had to say and with a good deal of respect. Keith has clearly acted in the best interests of the Home Affairs Select Committee and the important work that we do.

“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.”

Lougton also paid tribute to Vaz for his work leading the Committee, and said: |I think he has a reputation for getting the best out of witnesses, for being a robust chair, but also being a fair chair as well.

“I don’t think it is an underestimate to say the work of the committee under his chairmanship has had a direct and big impact on Government policy, on law and also on public opinion at times as well.”

A new chairman will be elected by October, and according to Commons rules will have to be a Labour MP.

Chuka Umunna, who is already on the Committee, is favourite to take over as chairman. One source close to the Committee said Umunna had cross-party support from MPs to be the next permanent chairman.

Umunna this afternoon refused to be drawn on whether he would stand, and said: “I don’t think now is the appropriate time to start talking about who is going to become the new chair of the Select Committee, given the current one is still in place until his resignation is effective.” 

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