British MPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of longest-serving Indian-origin lawmaker Keith Vaz joining a parliamentary committee which oversees the workings of the UK courts, weeks after he was forced to step down as chair of Home Affairs Select Committee amid a sex scandal.
Vaz, who quit last month as chair of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee amid a scandal over allegations involving male prostitutes, was elected as a member of the House of Commons Justice Committee on Monday night.
MPs voted for the 59-year-old Labour MP to be appointed to the committee by 203 votes to seven, a majority of 196.
Electing MPs to vacancies on Commons committees is mostly uncontentious, with each party given a set allocation of places.
Police Investigation ‘Still Hangs Over Him’
The rare vote on the Labour Party backed appointment of Vaz came after Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen objected to the appointment over allegations about Vaz's links with escorts published in the Sunday Mirror in September.
Bridgen said: “An allegation in the Sunday Mirror, with supporting video footage, implied (Mr Vaz) had offered to purchase class A drugs while using the services of escorts.”
“And yet here we are only a relatively few weeks later and the same member is seeking a position on the prestigious and influential justice committee while matters relating to his recent resignation remain. A potential police investigation still hangs over him.”
He was referring to a Scotland Yard investigation to complete its assessment of the information and decide if any police action is required.
I think it’d be a huge mistake for this House to place him in a position on the Justice Committee when he has so many questions to answer.MP Andrew Bridgen
However, as many as 150 other Conservative party MPs seemed to disagree with him and backed Vaz's appointment to the committee. They included frontbenchers such as UK home secretary Amber Rudd, health secretary Jeremy Hunt and international trade secretary Liam Fox.
Vaz himself is yet to comment on his new appointment.