British lawmaker Vaz faces suspension over drug scandal | News | DW | 28.10.2019
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British lawmaker Vaz faces suspension over drug scandal

Labour MP Keith Vaz was caught on tape expressing a willingness to purchase cocaine for men posing as male prostitutes who were conducting a sting. A committee found he had damaged the reputation of the House of Commons.

A parliamentary committee on Monday recommended a six-month suspension for Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Keith Vaz over a drug scandal.

The committee found that he has caused "significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons," after he was caught on tape offering to procure cocaine for people posing as male escorts in August 2016.

The committee described Vaz as "evasive" during their investigations. 

"This is a very serious breach of the [Code of Conduct]," the committee said. "We recommend that the House should suspend Mr Vaz from its service for six months."

Read more: Britain's opioid crisis takes on US dimension

A profile image of Keith Vaz

Keith Vaz has denied having any recollection of the incident

'Apparent willingness'

Vaz has claimed amnesia, saying he has no recollection of the evening. The Labour MP also said he "ingested a spiked drink," which one expert said could have contributed to "amnesia symptoms."

However, the committee said that audio evidence shows he was familiar with the men and expressed interest in procuring illegal narcotics. 

"The audio recording contains evidence of Mr Vaz's apparent willingness to purchase controlled drugs for others to use," the committee report said, citing the parliamentary commissioner for standard's findings.

This is not the first time Vaz has been accused of breaching parliamentarians' Code of Conduct. In 2002, he was suspended for one month failing to declare payments from businessmen.

Read more: Will the UK hold snap elections?

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