Keith Vaz: Commons backs MP’s six-month suspension over cocaine scandal

MPs have endorsed a Committee on Standards report which recommended Labour MP Keith Vaz should be suspended from the Commons for six months. 

This came after he was found to have “expressed willingness” to purchase cocaine for others.

Mr Vaz, MP for Leicester East, said the events in question were “purely personal and private” and denies he “has never bought, possessed, dealt with or used illegal drugs”.

The complaint against Mr Vaz, who was chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, 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. 

Earlier on Thursday, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said Mr Vaz should now stand aside as the Labour candidate for Leicester East, the seat he has held since 1987.

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“I think he should consider his position.

“I think he himself should agree not to be a candidate,” she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“It has been a very sad issue, not just for him but for his family and his children.”


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