"Sexual activity took place...I believe Mr Vaz paid for that activity."
Leicester East MP Keith Vaz is set to receive a six-month suspension after a lengthy parliamentary standards investigation.
The suspension could be the longest of any MP in history.
It comes after Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen made a complaint against Mr Vaz in 2016 following a newspaper “sting“.
He had invited two male escorts to his flat on August 27, 2016. Mr Vaz had allegedly paid the two men for sex while he offered to buy cocaine for a third.
One of the escorts asked his name and the MP replied “Jim”. He also claimed to be a washing man repairman.
However, the lies were unnecessary as they knew who he was and one of them was secretly recording the meeting.
The encounter was later published which led to him making a public apology to his family and quitting as chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee.
His wife Maria Fernandes revealed that he begged her for forgiveness.
The Parliamentary Standards Committee said its aim “has been to establish whether the rules of the House have been complied with, not to investigate Mr Vaz’s private life or pass judgement on issues of sexual morality”.
In the report, Mr Vaz claimed that the encounter with the two men was not to engage in paid-for sex but to “discuss the interior decoration of his flat”.
However, Commissioner Kathryn Stone said:
“Mr Vaz has told me he has never paid for sex. Sexual activity took place…I believe Mr Vaz paid for that activity.”
In the recording, Mr Vaz and the two men spoke about other prostitutes including the one who “forgot the condom”, with the MP saying: “I had to f*** him without a condom.”
The men had been waiting for a third escort when Mr Vaz offered to buy him cocaine.
The report stated:
“The men can be heard discussing ‘poppers’, ‘weed’ and ‘coke’. Mr Vaz was the first to mention ‘coke’ that evening.”
Mr Vaz also declined to comment on details of the encounter, claiming to have amnesia.
His office released a statement saying:
“Keith Vaz has been treated for a serious mental health condition for the last three years as a result of the events of 27th August 2016.
“He has shared all the medical reports in confidence with the Committee.
“He has nothing further to say on this matter other than what was said in his oral and written statements to the committee and to the commissioner.”
In the report, the committee said that they were “satisfied” by the evidence that Keith Vaz offered to “procure and pay for illegal drugs for a third party”.
The report stated: “No reasonable person who has listened to the audio recording could believe his claim that the purpose of the two men’s visit was to discuss interior decoration. Mr Vaz’s claims… are, frankly, ludicrous.”
The committee concluded that “significant” damage has been caused to his reputation as well as the integrity of the House of Commons.
The Recall of MPs Act 2015 will be triggered as a result of the suspension. A recall petition will need to be opened in Mr Vaz’s constituency.
It allows constituents of an MP’s constituency to request their MP to be recalled, which will trigger a by-election. The petition must be signed by 10% of constituents in order for that to happen.
Leicester Mercury reported that Mr Bridgen said: “I am disappointed it has taken so long, but hopefully this will mean the end of the road for Vaz.
“He is not fit for office, and Leicester deserves so much better.”