The high-profile Labour MP is facing a possible parliamentary investigation as he fights for his political future after reports he paid two male escorts for sex.
The Sunday Mirror alleged Mr Vaz met the men at his flat in north west London on August 27.
He has publicly apologised to his wife and children for the “hurt and distress” he caused them.
A graphic text conversation was published with Vaz discussing the meeting and having sex with the male prostitutes, and allegedly show Vaz asking for legal “high poppers” to be brought to the meeting. The substance is widely used as a sex-enhancing drug.
But astonishingly, last night Mr Vaz was refusing to step down as chair of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, which probes drugs and vice issues and is currently reviewing prostitution laws.
He even blamed his exposure on a Press sting.
In a statement, Mr Vaz said: “It is deeply disturbing that a national newspaper should have paid individuals to have acted in this way. I have referred these allegations to my solicitor Mark Stephens of Howard Kennedy who will consider them carefully and advise me accordingly.
“At this time I do not want there to be any distraction from the important work the Home Affairs Select Committee undertakes so well.
“Select committees do vital work in holding the government and others to account. We are due to publish two reports, one into anti-Semitism and the other into FGM (female genital mutilation) in the next few days, in addition we have a number of key witnesses.
“I will of course inform committee members first of my plans when we meet on Tuesday. My decision has been based entirely on what is in the best interests of the committee which I have had the privilege of chairing for the last nine years.”
Human Rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, has defended the MP and says that Keith Vaz has “not broken any laws” and should not resign over the claims.
“As far as I can see he has not broken any laws, or caused anyone any harm,” Tatchell told Radio 4’s Today programme today,and argued that Vaz’s alleged involvement in prostitution did not mean he was unable to continue his role as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which is overseeing a review of prostitution laws.
“We don’t demand that MPs who buy or own cars step down from committees when they are debating legislation to do with the car industry,” he said.
The Charity Commission has said it would look into allegations that the Leicester East MP used funds reportedly from an individual linked to the Silver Star diabetes charity to pay the Eastern Europe escorts involved with the scandal.