British peer quits House of Lords role over drug video


LONDON:Lord John Sewel resigned as Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords on Sunday after a newspaper published footage showing him partying semi-nude with two women and snorting a white powder.
Sewel, a senior peer who was responsible for enforcing standards in the upper house, was accused of using prostitutes and taking cocaine by The Sun on Sunday.
The video showed the married 69-year-old sniffing powder from a woman’s breasts with a five-pound note. A comment from Sewel was not immediately available.
Lord Speaker Baroness Frances D’Souza said the matter would be passed on to police.
“Today’s revelations about the behaviour of Lord Sewel are both shocking and unacceptable. Lord Sewel has this morning resigned as chairman of committees,” D’Souza said.
“These serious allegations will be referred to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards and the Metropolitan Police for investigation as a matter of urgency.”
If he is found to have breached the code of conduct, Sewel could become the first peer to be expelled from parliament under rules he helped to introduce.
In the video, Sewel is heard discussing the allowance he gets as a peer and telling the women “it pays for this”.
A former lecturer, Sewel has been in the House of Lords since 1996 and served as a minister in the Scotland office under the Labour government of Tony Blair.
Labour MP John Mann called for Sewel to retire from the House of Lords immediately to save himself “further embarrassment”.
“He chaired the committee that makes the decisions on discipline. It was his committee,” said Mann, who is MP for Bassetlaw MP.
“He cannot possibly go in front of his own committee and expect a serious hearing…He is a disgrace. He should retire and resign immediately.”



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