Labour MP Keith Vaz will stand down at the general election following drug scandal
Keith Vaz, the Labour MP who was suspended after he “expressed willingness” to buy cocaine for two men, has said that he will not be standing at the December 12 general election.
Vaz said that he will retire from politics after 32 years as the MP for Leicester East.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve my constituency since I came to the city in 1985,” he said in a statement.
“I want to thank the people of Leicester East for their absolute loyalty and support.”
Jeremy Corbyn said that Vaz had “made a substantial and significant contribution to public life,” and thanked him for helping “to pave the way for more BAME people to become involved in politics.”
Keith Vaz suspended for six months after drugs and sex worker reports
Vaz’s resignation came shortly after he was handed a six month suspension for breaching the House of Commons code of conduct.
He was reprimanded for allegedly offering to reimburse two male sex workers for cocaine.
The MP, who is married to a woman, was outed by a Sunday Mirror sting in 2016. The newspaper reported that he had posed as a washing machine salesman while meeting the men at a flat he owns in North London, close to his family home.
During an inquiry Vaz denied knowing that the men were sex workers, claiming that “the purpose of his encounter was not to engage in paid-for sex but to discuss the interior decoration of his flat.”
He also claimed that he could not recall key events mentioned in the Sunday Mirror report due to amnesia.
Parliament’s Standards Committee said that “by expressing willingness to purchase a Class A drug, cocaine, for others to use,” Vaz had showed “disregard for the law, and by failing to co-operate fully with the inquiry process, thereby showing disrespect for the House’s standards system, he has caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole.”
If Vaz had been re-elected in the December general election, his suspension would have required a new vote in the upcoming Parliament.