Keith Vaz: MPs to be asked to approve six month Commons suspension tomorrow

MPs will be asked to approve the six-month suspension of disgraced politician Keith Vaz on Thursday.

The Commons Standard Committee recommended a six-month suspension from Parliament earlier this week, more than three years after the scandal was exposed by the Sunday Mirror.

The report said the 62-year-old showed “disregard for the law” by “expressing willingness” to buy cocaine in a rendezvous with two sex workers who he told: “We need to get this party started”.

But some fear that Mr Vaz may only serve three days of his suspension – and would be allowed to rejoin MPs immediately after any election if reelected.

On Wednesday the chair of the Committee which found that Mr Vaz had damaged the reputation of Parliament said her committee unanimously agreed that MPs should simply pass the motion again after an election to make sure Mr Vaz serves the full ban.

Standards Committee chair Kate Green MP wrote to Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg on Wednesday.

She told the Tory Minister: “The Committee is strongly of  the view that Mr Vaz, if he  continues to be a Member, should serve the full period of the six month suspension.

“While it is, of course, a constitutional axiom that one Parliament cannot bind its successor, they hope that whoever is Leader of the House following a General Election will take the earliest  opportunity to bring any  necessary motion  before the House to enable the full period of suspension to be served.

“They do not believe it would be necessary to await the re-appointment of the Committee on Standards before this can happen.

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“The Committee’s views on both these matters were unanimous.”

It came after it emerged Mr Vaz had been taken to hospital hours after news of the record Commons ban broke.

The Labour veteran’s office made the announcement after a damning report found he “expressed willingness” to buy two prostitutes cocaine and it was “more likely than not” he had paid for sex.

Mr Vaz’s office initially said he had “been treated for a serious mental-health condition for the last three years” as a result of the events in August 2016.

A further statement on his website then said: “He has today been admitted to hospital and this office will not be making any further comments.” The MP’s office did not say why he was admitted.

Mr Vaz gave a number of contradictory explanations for the events


MPs ruled his behaviour was a “very serious breach” of the Code of Conduct – which says members must not “damage the reputation and integrity of the Commons”.

The Committee savaged him for “failing repeatedly to answer questions” and trying to obstruct the probe.

And MPs dismissed his claim a transcript and recording supplied by the Sunday Mirror were unreliable after asking for a forensic analysis.

Mr Vaz told investigators he did not pay for sex and the men were there to discuss “decorating his flat”.

And he claimed he lost his memory after drinking a glass of “spiked” water.

But the scathing Commons Standards Committee report branded his ­explanations “frankly, ludicrous”.

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If agreed by MPs, the ban will trigger a recall petition against the shamed MP – which would allow voters to force a by-election booting him out of office.

The Sunday Mirror broke the story of Mr Vaz’s behaviour

The Committee also took the unprecedented step of demanding Mr Vaz is barred from a “former MP” pass that would let him roam Parliament at will if he stands down.

The MP described himself to the two men as a washing machine salesman named Jim.

Yet he told an investigation that “the purpose of his encounter with the two men was not to engage in paid-for sex, but to discuss the interior decoration of his flat”.

The inquiry was repeatedly delayed by the two police referrals, which did not lead to a prosecution, the 2017 election and Mr Vaz’s “ill health”, MPs said.

MPs took the rare decision to redact “sensitive” information from the MP’s doctors about the detailed nature of his “ongoing” poor health.

While accepting Mr Vaz’s health has still not fully recovered, the report was scathing.

It said “it is more likely than not that Mr Vaz has engaged in paid sexual activity”, adding: “We are satisfied from the evidence we have considered that Mr Vaz did on 27 August 2016 offer to procure and pay for illegal drugs for use by a third party.”

The report added: “He has not ‘co-operated at all stages’ with the investigation process.

“He has failed, repeatedly, to answer direct questions; he has given incomplete answers and his account has, in parts, been incredible.

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“I do not believe he has given me or my predecessor a full and accurate account of the relevant events.”

A statement on the MP’s website said: “The events of 27th August 2016 were purely personal and private, and occurred in circumstances where neither Mr Vaz’s public nor his Parliamentary role were engaged.

“Mr Vaz has never bought, possessed, dealt with or used illegal drugs. He has a cardiovascular condition which would mean that were he to consume any non-prescribed drugs he would in all likelihood die.

“The Commissioner has confirmed that Mr Vaz has not committed any criminal acts. The referrals made (including by Andrew Bridgen MP) were a waste of police resources.

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Keith Vaz faces suspension over prostitutes

“The transcript of the recording which the Committee and Commissioner rely on has been completed discredited by a highly qualified forensic scientist, who has cast considerable doubt on its reliability.

“She stated: Overall the transcript supplied to me fell significantly short of what is expected in terms of a transcript intended for use in legal, disciplinary or similar proceedings and it cannot be considered a reliable evidential record of the speech content of the questioned recording.”

However, the Commons report on Mr Vaz’s conduct disagreed with this. It said: “While Dr Holmes has raised queries about some details of the transcript, these do not undermine its general credibility, and there can be no room for doubt about the import of the whole.

“We accept these conclusions, and therefore reject Mr Vaz’s argument that the audiorecording and transcript are “wholly unreliable as evidence”.”


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