British peer resigns over drug allegations

London, July 28 (IANS) British life peer John Sewel on Tuesday resigned from the House of Lords over claims he took drugs with two escorts at his London apartment, a media report said.

Video footage and pictures published by The Sun newspaper showed Sewel, 69, snorting cocaine with two call girls at his London flat, Xinhua reported.

The Sun published a series of reports on the subject for three consecutive days since Sunday, but it remains unclear how the newspaper obtained the videos and the photos.

In a statement announcing his resignation, Sewel said: “I have today (Tuesday) written to the Clerk of the Parliaments terminating my membership of the House of Lords. The question of whether my behaviour breached the Code of Conduct is important, but essentially technical.”

“The bigger questions are whether my behaviour is compatible with membership of the House of Lords and whether my continued membership would damage and undermine public confidence in the House of Lords. I believe the answer to both these questions means that I can best serve the House by leaving it,” he said.

Sewel, who had already resigned as deputy speaker and chairman of the Privileges and Conduct Committee of the House of Lords following the allegations, apologised for the “pain and embarrassment” he has caused.

“As a subordinate, second chamber, the House of Lords is an effective, vital but undervalued part of our political system. I hope my decision will limit and help repair the damage I have done to an institution I hold dear,” he said.

In the video footage, Sewel was also pictured making disparaging remarks about British Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson, former prime minister Tony Blair and a number of other politicians.

On Monday, he was captured wearing an orange bra and leather jacket while puffing on a cigarette.

The Metropolitan Police said it has launched a criminal investigation into allegations of drug-related offences “involving a member of the House of Lords”.

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