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Longest serving Indian-origin British MP Keith Vaz quits office

Senior Labor Party MP Keith Vaz announced his retirement 32 years after Parliament Standards Committee recommended his suspension for six months over a drug scandal

Longest serving Indian-origin British MP Keith Vaz quits office
Bengaluru, First Published Nov 11, 2019, 5:51 PM IST
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London: Britain's longest-serving Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz announced his retirement from the Parliament on Sunday, weeks after Commons Standards Committee recommended he should be handed a six-month suspension over cocaine and prostitute scandal.

The 62-year-old was found to have "expressed a willingness" to purchase cocaine for others during an encounter with male prostitutes. Subsequently, he had faced calls to step down, including his own party. A Labour MP representing Leicester East for the past 32 years since 1987, Vaz announced his retirement, clearing that he will not stand in the next month's General Elections, reported the Independent.

"I have decided to retire after completing 32 years as the Member of Parliament for Leicester East," Vaz said in a statement. "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," he added.

Reacting to Vaz's announcement, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn described him as "among the pioneering group of black and Asian Labour MPs elected in 1987".

"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," Corbyn said.

Keith Vaz had played a prominent role in the India-UK relations over the years and hosted numerous Indian ministers and MPs during their visit to Britain. He had been selected as the Labour Party’s candidate for next month’s election but it must now find a replacement in time for the Thursday deadline for finalising candidates.

Keith Vaz's resignation comes after the standards committee found he "caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons". 

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