Labour’s Keith Vaz has announced he will not stand for re-election in the upcoming December ballot.
The veteran politician was facing a six-month suspension from the Commons after being found to have “expressed willingness” to purchase cocaine for others.
In a statement, Vaz said: “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.”
Vaz thanked his constituents in Leicester East for their “absolute loyalty and support.”
He added: “The people of Leicester East will always be in my heart.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised his former colleague, saying: “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.”
Vaz has held his Leicester East seat since 1987, and has maintained majority of over 20 per cent in every election since 1992.
In the last General Election in 2017, the politician won his highest majority of all time, gaining over 35,000 votes to give him a majority of more than 22,000.
In October the Commons approved findings of an investigation by the Standards Committee, which found that there was “compelling evidence” that Vaz had offered to buy drugs for male prostitutes.
However, Kate Green, the chair of the committee, warned that the politician could avoid the suspension as it would effectively be nullified by the dissolution of parliament prior to the 12 December General Election.
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