A scandal-hit taxi-driver and Labour councillor who is said to have boasted about having “Keith Vaz in my right pocket” has been suspended from working on a public sector contract to transport vulnerable children. Gurpal Atwal sits on Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, close to Vaz’s Leicester East seat. Last week a court heard that Atwal – who has been pictured campaigning with Vaz – sat outside a swimming pool “in his pants” and had allegedly been verbally abusive to passengers (Atwal denied the claims). Magistrates ruled Atwal was not a fit and proper person to hold a taxi licence and also charged him £1,250 in costs. A council spokesman said this weekend:
“We have a framework contract with ASA Transport Service Ltd, to provide transport for vulnerable adults and children in Leicester. Mr Atwal is employed as a driver with this firm, but as a result of this week’s court decision, we have instructed ASA that Mr Atwal is no longer to be used for any of our contracted work.”
North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said:
“Things look murkier and murkier with regard to child safeguarding in Leicester. This has all the hallmarks of another Labour cover-up putting vulnerable children at risk.”
Will Vaz publicly distance himself from Atwal?