Disgraced Keith Vaz will not stand in general election
10 November 2019, 21:18 | Updated: 10 November 2019, 21:36
Labour's Keith Vaz, who was facing suspension from the Commons, will not stand at the upcoming General Election, he has announced.
Mr Vaz was recommended for a six month suspension after he was found to have "expressed willingness" to purchase cocaine for others.
The disgraced former MP confirmed the news on Sunday evening, after weeks of speculation about whether he would return to parliament after the general election in December.
He wrote on his website: "I have decided to retire after completing 32 years as the Member of Parliament for Leicester East. In that time I have won eight general elections.
“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.”
The politician, who represented Leicester East, is the latest person to stand aside in the upcoming election, after a series of gaffes and revelations about various candidates which have led to them standing down or being removed from the process by their party.
Commenting on Mr Vaz's decision, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "Keith Vaz was among the pioneering group of black and Asian Labour MPs elected in 1987. I was proud to support his selection and incredibly proud when he won, taking the seat from the Tories.
"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.
"His work in Parliament has been exemplary, as Britain’s first Asian origin Minister, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, a campaigner on Diabetes issues and most recently trying to help the peace process in Yemen. And our work together to combat racism and bring our diverse communities together is far from over."
Last week Labour's National Executive Committee debated whether the former MP, who held the seat for 32 years, would become a distraction to the party's general election campaign if he stands for re-election.
Political parties across the UK are gearing up for the election, which is due to be held on 12 December.