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Diane Abbott tells Keith Vaz not to stand for Labour again after drugs and prostitute scandal

2 min read

Diane Abbott has urged Keith Vaz to rule out standing at the general election after a probe found the Labour MP offered to buy cocaine for male escorts.

The disgraced political veteran faces a six-month ban after a Commons watchdog investigation concluded he "expressed willingness" to acquire the drug.

MPs will be asked to sign off their recommendation of an extensive censure for causing “significant damage” to Parliament’s reputation and for failing to cooperate with an official inquiry.

When asked if her colleague should stand again, Ms Abbott told the BBC’s Today programme: "I’ve known Keith for a very long time, we were young people together looking to go forward in the Labour Party.

"I think he should consider his position and I think he himself should agree not to be a candidate. I think it’s been a very sad issue, not just for him, but for his family and his children."

When it was put to her that the Labour whip had not yet been pulled from Mr Vaz, the Shadow Home Secretary responded: "Not yet, but I think Keith should consider his position."

An inquiry was launched by the Commons Standards Commissioner in 2016 after a newspaper article alleged that he posed as an industrial washing machine salesman and paid two male prostitutes, and offered to buy cocaine for another.

Following its inquiry, the report said: "This is a very serious breach of the Code. We recommend that the House should suspend Mr Vaz from its service for six months.

"The Committee finds that by expressing willingness to purchase cocaine for another person to use, Mr Vaz showed disregard for the law, and by failing to co-operate fully with the inquiry process, he showed disrespect for the House’s standards system.

"His actions caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole."

The committee, which made its recommendations on Monday, also called for him not to be granted a former member’s pass if he steps down as an MP.

A six-month-long ban would trigger Parliament’s recall process against Mr Vaz, which would see him forced to contest a by-election if 10% of his constituents back the petition.

On Monday, Mr Vaz’s office released a statement, saying: "Keith Vaz has been treated for a serious mental health condition for the last three years as a result of the events of 27th August 2016.

"He has shared all his medical reports in confidence with the Committee. He has today been admitted to hospital and this office will not be making any further comments."

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