General election: Labour’s Keith Vaz will not stand after cocaine claims

Keith Vaz will not stand in the upcoming election, he has announced.

The Labour politician had been facing suspension from the Commons for six months after he was found to have “expressed willingness” to purchase cocaine for others.

Mr Vaz, who was Leicester East’s MP for 32 years, said he had decided to retire, adding: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve my constituency since I came to the city in 1985.

“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.”

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn reacted by describing Mr Vaz as “among the pioneering group of black and Asian Labour MPs elected in 1987”.

Mr Corbyn added: “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.”

Earlier this year, Mr Vaz was subject to an investigation by the parliamentary standards committee after a Sunday Mirror report claimed more than three years ago that he paid two male escorts for sex and offered to buy cocaine for others to use.

Mr Vaz had claimed he met the two men “to discuss the interior decoration of his flat” and that he may have been given a “spiked drink” but declined to comment on details “on grounds of the medical condition of amnesia”.

The standards committee said this was “not believable and, indeed, ludicrous”, adding that he had failed to “cooperate fully” with the inquiry and “caused significant damage of the reputation and integrity” of the Commons.

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