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Indo-British MP Keith Vaz Indicted In Escorts-Drugs Row, Faces Suspension

Vaz, 62, was the chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee when the scandal emerged in tabloid Sunday Mirror. He resigned after questions about conflict of interest about the work of the committee and issues that figured in the sting operation.

LONDON – Keith Vaz, the longest serving Indo-British MP, was on Monday indicted by a parliamentary committee on standards for his involvement in a drugs-for-male-sex-workers scandal revealed in a widely-publicised sting operation in 2016.

 

The Committee on Standards ruled that Vaz, Labour MP from Leicester East since 1987, had caused ‘significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole’, and recommended his suspension for six months.

 

Vaz, 62, was the chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee when the scandal emerged in tabloid Sunday Mirror. He resigned after questions about conflict of interest about the work of the committee and issues that figured in the sting operation.

 

The committee said it found that Vaz acted in breach of para 16 of the House of Commons Code of Conduct, which says: “Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its Members generally”.

 

 

The committee said Vaz “disregarded” the law by “expressing a willingness” to supply cocaine to two male prostitutes, adding that there was “compelling evidence” he procured a class A drug and had paid-for sex in August 2016.

 

The watchdog said in its report that Vaz’s claim that he had met the men to discuss the redecoration of his flat was “ludicrous”.

 

The committee said in its report: “By expressing willingness to purchase a Class A drug, cocaine, for others to use, thereby showing 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”.

 

 

“This is a very serious breach of the Code. We recommend that the House should suspend Mr Vaz from its service for six months. We note that this suspension, if agreed by the House, will trigger the provisions of the Recall of MPs Act 2015 and require a recall petition to be opened in Mr Vaz’s constituency”.

 

The committee also recommended that if Vaz were to cease to be an MP for whatever reason, he should not be eligible to be granted a former member’s pass.

 

The report added that Vaz’s conduct has been disrespectful of the house’s system of standards: “He has failed, repeatedly, to answer direct questions; he has given incomplete answers and his account has, in parts, been incredible”, it said.

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