Labour’s Keith Vaz will not stand in election amid suspension row

Mr Vaz had been MP for Leicester East for 32 years

Monday, November 11, 2019

Labour’s Keith Vaz has announced that he will not stand in the December general election, just weeks after he was handed a six month suspension from the House of Commons.

Last month, the Commons Standards Committee recommended suspending Mr Vaz for having caused “significant damage” to the reputation of the House.

It was after the 62-year-old was found to have "expressed a willingness" to buy cocaine for others during an encounter with two male prostitutes in 2016.

By way of explanation, Mr Vaz said the men were there to discuss the redecoration of his flat and that he may have been given a “spiked drink”, but the Committee dismissed the claim as “not believable and, indeed, ludicrous”.

The former MP represented Leicester East in Parliament for three decades but announced his retirement in a statement over the weekend.

He said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve my constituency since I came to the city in 1985."

Mr Vaz added the people of Leicester "will always be in my heart".

Jeremy Corbyn praised Mr Vaz as one of the “pioneering group of black and Asian Labour MPs elected in 1987”, saying his work in Parliament had been "exemplary".

“He has helped pave the way for more BAME people to become involved in politics," the Labour leader added.

A statement on Mr Vaz's website said he was admitted to hospital on the day the Committee's report was published.

It said he had been receiving treatment for a “serious mental health condition” since details of the encounter were made public three years ago.

MPs had endorsed the recommended suspension without a formal vote.

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