- Published on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 14:13
Lord Sewel has resigned from the House of Lords after being filmed allegedly taking drugs with prostitutes.
Footage obtained by The Sun on Sunday appeared to show the peer who had been deputy speaker of the Lords - snorting powder from a woman's breasts.
In a letter to the Clerk of the Parliaments, he wrote: "I want to apologise for the pain and embarrassment I have caused."
He said he hoped his decision would "limit and help repair" the damage.
Police have also launched a criminal investigation and searched a property in central London.
The Metropolitan Police said it was looking into "allegations of drug-related offences involving a member of the House of Lords".
Speaking in Singapore, Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Lord Sewel's decision to "absent himself" but appeared to rule out wider reforms to the House of Lords as a consequence, saying he had tried and failed in the last
Parliament to do so and was not planning "to go down that route again".
On Monday, the peer requested a leave of absence from the Lords, but sources had suggested he did not plan to quit.
But in letter published on Tuesday, he wrote: "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."
On Monday, Lord Sewel was also pictured wearing an orange bra and leather jacket as he reclined, smoking a cigarette.
Footage showed him making disparaging remarks about a number of senior politicians, including the prime minister.