Leicester MP Vaz at the brink of suspension?

Tuesday 05th November 2019 14:07 EST

The Leicester MP and former chair of the Commons home affairs committee, Keith Vaz, was issued with a six-month suspension from Parliament last week. This follows a National newspaper expose in 2016 alleging that he had offered to buy drugs for male escorts. 

He was earlier referred to the Commons standards committee for investigation and the house standards watchdog found he had breached the MPs' code of conduct by showing “disregard for the law”. However despite being referred to the police by the Tory MP for North West Leicestershire Andrew Bridgen twice no action was taken. According to Kathyrn Stone, standards commissioner, his actions had caused a “significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons” and Mr. Vaz remained “evasive” and declined to reveal full details during the investigation. The complaint against him was made by Mr Bridgen who allies of Mr Vaz said had a “vendetta” against him. Mr Vaz has raised the issue of entrapment with regards to the original newspaper investigation, and has also stated that subsequent to the initial incident in 2016 he has suffered from ill health which has also affected his ability to respond to the watchdog's questions. He was represented by the City Law Firm Carter Ruck who stated that all questions were answered in full. With the dissolution of parliament this week on Wednesday 6th November, Mr Vaz's suspension has effectively ended.  It is uncertain what will happen next. The Labour Party has remained silent on whether any action will be taken over the subject. However, his colleagues including Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary and one of his oldest allies, has urged him to quit as the candidate for Leicester East in the upcoming general election.It is still unclear if Mr. Vaz will continue to remain on the National Executive Committee where his 2 year term has expired. Proposals are being discussed to abolish the organisation BAME Labour who he represents on the body. Councillor  Mahendra Valand a local Councillor in Leicester said : “Keith Vaz has been an outstanding MP he enjoys our full and complete confidence. In the last 32 years he has taken up 49,000 cases for local people.” Twenty three local councillors and 50 community organisations have written a statement in support of Mr Vaz.  

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