Labour MP Keith Vaz should be suspended for six months for “expressing willingness to purchase cocaine for another person”, according to parliament’s sleaze watchdog.
The standards committee found he had committed a “very serious breach” of the Commons code of conduct over an incident first reported in September 2016.
MPs will now have to vote on whether to enforce the recommended action. If they do, it could trigger the process for constituents of the Leicester East MP to unseat him and force a by-election.
The parliamentary investigation was launched after the Sunday Mirror claimed more than three years ago that Mr Vaz paid two male escorts for sex and offered to buy cocaine for others to use.
A recording of their conversation also shows the men discussing “poppers” and “weed”.
Mr Vaz claimed he met the two men “to discuss the interior decoration of his flat” and that he may have been given a “spiked drink” but declined to comment on details “on grounds of the medical condition of amnesia”.
The standards committee said that was “not believable and, indeed, ludicrous”.
It found he had failed to “cooperate fully” with the inquiry and “caused significant damage of the reputation and integrity” of the Commons.
Mr Vaz was a highly influential MP as chair of the home affairs select committee, which includes oversight of government drugs policy, but left the role in September 2016.
Kathryn Stone, the commissioner for standards, dismissed allegations Mr Vaz had any involvement in the use of drugs relevant to the home affairs select committee’s then-inquiry into psychoactive substances.
But she did rule he had shown “apparent willingness to purchase controlled drugs for others to use”.
“He has failed, repeatedly, to answer direct questions; he has given incomplete answers and his account has, in parts, been incredible,” Ms Stone added.
A statement on his website posted on Monday said: “Keith Vaz has been treated for a serious mental-health condition for the last three years as a result of the events of 27 August 2016.
“He has shared all the medical reports in confidence with the committee.
“He has nothing further to say on this matter other than what was said in his oral and written statements to the committee and to the commissioner.”
Labour MP Keith Vaz should be suspended over ‘willingness to purchase cocaine’ – parliament committee
Labour MP Keith Vaz should be suspended for six months for “expressing willingness to purchase cocaine for another person”, parliament’s standards committee has recommended.