Calls for Keith Vaz to step down as a Labour candidate

PUBLISHED: 11:28 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:28 31 October 2019

Keith Vaz. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Keith Vaz. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Keith Vaz is facing calls to stand down as a Labour candidate after a scathing Commons report recommended he should face a six-month suspension.

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The Standards Committee found the MP had caused "significant damage" to the reputation of the House after he expressed a willingness to purchase cocaine for others during an encounter with male prostitutes.

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".

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

"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."

When it was put to her that Mr Vaz, who was chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee at the time of the incident, had not had the Labour whip withdrawn, she replied: "Not yet."

A statement on Vaz's website said that he was admitted to hospital on the day the committee's report was published.

It said he had been receiving treatment for a "serious mental health condition" since details of the encounter were published in the Sunday Mirror in 2016.

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