Evening Standard

Keith Vaz: Former Labour MP announces he will not stand at next election

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 11.11.2019 05:59:16
Keith Vaz wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Labour's Keith Vaz will not stand at the upcoming General Election, he has announced.

The former MP was facing suspension from the Commons for six months after he was found to have "expressed willingness" to purchase cocaine for others.

Mr Vaz, who has been MP for Leicester East for 32 years, said he was retiring from Parliament in a statement on Sunday evening.

He said: "I have decided to retire after completing 32 years as the Member of Parliament for Leicester East. In that time I have won eight general elections.

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

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"I want to thank the people of Leicester East for their absolute loyalty and support. Leicester and especially the people of Leicester East will always be in my heart."

The complaint against Mr Vaz, who was chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which led to the suspension followed a Sunday Mirror article from 2016 claiming he had met two men in his London flat to engage in paid-for sex.

A recording of he encounter was made by one of the men and an article about the Leicester East MP subsequently appeared in the newspaper.

Recommending suspension, the Commons Standards Committee said the finding represented a "very serious breach" of the House code of conduct for MPs. The committee, the Commons disciplinary body, said his explanation that he may have been given a "spiked" drink and that he was suffering from amnesia was "not believable and, indeed, ludicrous".

A subsequent statement on Mr Vaz's website said he was admitted to hospital on the day the findings emerged. It also claimed he would be at risk of death if he consumed illegal drugs due to health issues.

Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Vaz's work in Parliament 'has been exemplary' © GettyJeremy Corbyn said Mr Vaz's work in Parliament 'has been exemplary'

Mr Vaz also said the events in question were "purely personal and private" and denies he "has never bought, possessed, dealt with or used illegal drugs".

In response to Mr Vaz's announcement, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "Keith Vaz was among the pioneering group of black and Asian Labour MPs elected in 1987. I was proud to support his selection and incredibly proud when he won, taking the seat from the Tories.

"Keith has made a substantial and significant contribution to public life, both as a constituency MP for the people of Leicester and for the Asian community across the country. He has helped to pave the way for more BAME people to become involved in politics.

"His work in Parliament has been exemplary, as Britain's first Asian origin Minister, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, a campaigner on diabetes issues, and most recently trying to help the peace process in Yemen.

"Our work to combat racism and bring our diverse communities together is far from over."

11. marraskuuta 2019 7:59:16 Categories: Evening Standard Le Figaro

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