Vice row judge to keep job

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A judge accused by the News of the World of drug-taking and sexual activity with two prostitutes can keep his job,the Lord Chancellor said yesterday.

Judge Anthony Thornton, 48, met Lord Mackay of Clashfern yesterday to explain his side of the story, and Lord Mackay of Clashfern accepted his version of events.

The judge asked for talks after claims in the News of the World newspaper last Sunday that he smoked cannabis and cocaine before meeting two prostitutes at their London flat.

Judges may not consort with anyone with a criminal record, and both the prostitutes named in the newspaper had served prison sentences for theft- related offences.

The judge, who has one child and is separated from his wife, is a former chairman of the Professional Standards Committee of the Bar Council. He vehemently denied the reports.