Friday, June 21

Lord Sewel quits: Peer boasts of having sex with BBC presenter and seeing 13 mistresses



Lord Sewel, who has quit the House of Lords after being embroiled in a sex and drugs scandal, reportedly boasted of having sex with a BBC presenter, it has emerged.

The former Labour minister stepped down from the chamber after footage was released appearing to show him snorting cocaine with two sex workers at his property in central London.

A police investigation into the claims resulted in a three-hour-long search on the peer’s flat at Dolphin Square on Monday night, with officers leaving the building with several bags of evidence.

Additional footage of the alleged incident released by The Sun appears to show Lord Sewel, 69, bragging of having sex with a BBC presenter as he reveals her name and the programme she worked on.

“I had her in the attic,” he tells the sex workers.

“She was very young and it was very pleasant. Quite pleasant, yea it was nice you know, I liked her.”

The married peer went on to say that he has had 13 mistresses over a 20-year period. One was a Labour Party member who he claimed to have seen for two decades.

The unidentified presenter told the newspaper that the peer’s claims were “categorically untrue”.

Lord Sewel has since bowed to intense pressure to resign from the House of Lords entirely, after he stepped down as Deputy Speaker of the House earlier this week. He has now also relinquished his role as chairman of a House of Lords committee responsible for upholding standards.


As the chairman of Committees, he headed the Privileges and Conduct Committee which was tasked with judging the behaviour of disgraced politicians.

Had he not stepped down, the peer would have likely been the first to face an inquiry under new rules he helped to introduce. The measures are designed to ensure peers are expelled if they are found to have breached the Code of Conduct.

Lord Sewel has quit the House of Lords Under the rules, Lords are expected to act in the public interest and in accordance with seven general principles, including “personal honour”.

The code explains that while such a term has “never been defined” it “has not needed definition, because it is inherent in the culture and conventions of the House”.

In his resignation letter to Parliamentary officials, Lord Sewell apologised for the “pain and embarrassment” he had caused.

“The question of whether my behaviour breached the code of conduct is important, but essentially technical,” he said.

“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.

“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.”

The House of Lords Guide to the Code of Conduct ‘personal honour’ clause in full:

Personal honour

6. In accordance with paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct, Members are required to sign an undertaking to abide by the Code as part of the ceremony of taking the oath upon introduction and at the start of each Parliament. A Member who has taken the oath but who has not signed the undertaking is therefore deemed to have breached the Code, and it will be for the Sub-Committee on Lords’ Conduct to consider an appropriate sanction.

7. Members are required both “to comply with the Code of Conduct” (paragraph 8(a)), and to act always “on their personal honour” (paragraph 8(b)). The term “personal honour” has been explained by the Committee for Privileges as follows:

“The term ‘personal honour’ has been used within the House for centuries to describe the guiding principles that govern the conduct of Members; its meaning has never been defined, and has not needed definition, because it is inherent in the culture and conventions of the House. These change over time, and thus any definition of ‘personal honour’, while it might achieve temporary ‘legal certainty’, would quickly become out-moded … the term ‘personal honour’ is ultimately an expression of the sense of the House as a whole as to the standards of conduct expected of individual Members … Members cannot rely simply on their own personal sense of what is honourable. They are required to act in accordance with the standards expected by the House as a whole. ‘Personal honour’ is thus … a matter for individual Members, subject to the sense and culture of the House as a whole.”[1]

7A. A member who expresses a clear willingness to breach the Code (for example, by attempting to negotiate an agreement to provide parliamentary services in return for payment) demonstrates a failure to act on his or her personal honour, and is thus in breach of paragraph 8(b) of the Code.