House of Commons Speaker John Bercow stopped an MP from making allegations about sex scandal colleague Keith Vaz last year, in what the Member calls “an establishment cover-up”.
Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, wrote to Mr. Bercow on the 3rd of September 2015 asking to use Parliamentary privilege to raise the matter in a House of Commons debate.
He said that should the allegations be substantiated, MP for nearby Leicestershire East Keith Vaz must be suspended from his position as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
However, when Mr. Bercow replied five days later Mr. Bridgen was told that he had no power to remove a select committee chairman.
The Speaker stated: “It would be inappropriate for you to make allegations of this nature against a colleague on the floor of the House” and was warned not to use Parliamentary privilege to raise the matter in a Commons debate, reports the Mirror.
Mr. Bridgen said, “I was dismayed when the Speaker appeared to dismiss my concerns out of hand.
“To the casual observer these events had all the hallmarks of an establishment cover-up. My concerns regarding Mr Vaz long preceded the Sunday Mirror revelations.”
On the 8th of December the Tory MP wrote to Mr. Vaz and raised the allegations with him, to which the married father of two replied, “The suggestion you make is highly defamatory”.
Last week the Mirror revealed that the then chairman of the committee which handles immigration, drugs, and prostitution had paid for sex from two male Eastern European escorts at his London flat near his family home in Edgware, North West London.
He had also asked the prostitutes to bring the sex-enhancing drug poppers and offered to pay for one escort’s cocaine (though the MP declined to use any drugs himself).
On Sunday, the Mirror interviewed the two escorts, who told the newspaper that Mr. Vaz – who introduced himself as ‘Jim’ the washing machine salesman – had also offered to fly them to holidays in North Africa, and discussed meeting other male prostitutes in Tunisia and Morocco.
The escorts said that Mr. Vaz “never wore a wedding ring”, and when they found out who he was “felt sorry for his wife” and children.
“He’s brought shame on his family, they all have to suffer for him, they are guilty of nothing and they are victims in this. I feel sorry for them and I would like to apologise to them,” one escort said.
“But Vaz has only one person to blame – himself.”
He continued: “Some people may be upset by what we did. But we believe exposing a public person for this is the right thing.
“Vaz has two lives – Jim and Keith. He’s the biggest liar I’ve ever met – and the best actor.”
Mr. Vaz has since resigned as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, but he has not stepped down from an influential post on a Commons security council. He has vowed to stay on as an MP.