Following the Sunday Mirror‘s claim that Keith Vaz is leading a double life paying young male escorts for sex, the MP for Leicester East is expected to step down from his role as the head of the Home Affairs select committee. In the texts and video footage published by the paper, Vaz appears to inquire about purchasing ‘coke’ as well as sending texts asking the escorts to ‘try and pick up some poppers’.
While Vaz disputes the paper’s version of events, doubts have now been raised over the validity of an investigation the MP launched in 2011 into the effects of cocaine. However, it’s Vaz’s comments on poppers that have piqued Mr S’s interest. When MPs gathered in January to voice opposition to the government’s proposals to ban poppers — as part of the psychoactive substances bill — Vaz spoke of his shock that some of his fellow MPs knew so much about the topic at hand. Referring to Lyn Brown’s suggestion that ‘Ministers have stood at the Dispatch Box having had poppers’, he declared that the MP ‘obviously’ knew more than he did when it came to poppers.
However, regular Steerpike readers will remember that Vaz did also air some thoughts on the drug — conceding that poppers are ‘beneficial in enabling anal sex’:
‘The government recognises that representations have been made to the effect that “poppers” have a beneficial health and relationship effect in enabling anal sex for some men who have sex with men, amid concern about the impact of the ban on these men.’
So, was Vaz telling porkies or did the inquiry simply inspire him to take a closer interest in the psychoactive substance?