ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- An Italian lawmaker, who once advocated drug tests for parliamentarians, has resigned from his party in disgrace after being caught at a hotel with a prostitute who had overdosed on drugs.
Lower house deputy Cosimo Mele denied taking cocaine himself and said he was proud he took responsibility when the prostitute felt ill. He requested an ambulance for her at their posh Rome hotel.
"I'm proud of myself. When I alerted the hotel reception and then asked them to call an ambulance, I realized that my name could get out," Mele, 50, told Corriere della Sera newspaper.
"Many other guys would have taken off," added Mele, who is married with three children.
Last year, a satirical television show said it had secretly tested 50 lower house deputies for illegal substances and found almost one third had taken drugs in the previous 36 hours.
A bogus make-up artist had dabbed their brow between filming, and then tested the material collected for drugs.
Mele's political party, the opposition Union of Christian Democrats (UDC), accepted his resignation on Monday but said he remained, at least for now, a non-party lawmaker in parliament.
The UDC, which said Mele's behavior ran contrary to party values, is slated to hold a voluntary drug test for lawmakers outside parliament on Wednesday. E-mail to a friend
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