Lord John Sewel says he will take a "leave of absence" from the House of Lords following a cocaine and prostitutes sting – but has left the door open to a return in the future.
The Sun on Sunday revealed how the married peer, who was tasked with upholding standards in the House of Lords, was filmed allegedly snorting cocaine with two prostitutes.
On Monday The Sun followed this up with a startling front page photo of him wearing a woman's bra and leather jacket. Sewel had already resigned as deputy speaker of the Lords and has been suspended from the Labour party.
He has now decided to leave the Lords temporarily. In a letter to David Beamish, the clerk of the parliaments, Sewel wrote: "I wish to take leave of absence from the House as soon as it can be arranged.
"I also wish to make clear that in doing so I have no intention of returning to the House in any way until the current investigations have been completed, when in the light of their outcome I will review my long term position. I believe this is compatible with due process."
The peer will not be able to claim any allowances and must give three months' notice if he wants to attend the Lords.
The Lords commissioner for standards, Paul Kernaghan, is expected to decide within 48 hours whether to launch an investigation. That could ultimately see the peer being expelled from parliament.
But Sewel is under increasing pressure to resign. Baroness Betty Boothroyd, the former Commons Speaker, said he had "brought the House into some disrepute" and should "take a quiet way out of the back door of the House of Lords".
She told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "It doesn't leave us with a very good smell under the nose of the public, quite frankly. You only need one bad apple in the barrel and he's been the bad apple in this barrel."
Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Emily Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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