Standards Committee Recommends Six Month Vaz Suspension

The Standards Committee has finally published its report on the behaviour of Keith Vaz, declaring that he breached the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. The investigation was sparked by a formal complaint submitted by Andrew Bridgen MP. Three years, two standards commissioners, a new office, and almost two elections later, they have finally concluded:

“This is a very serious breach of the Code. We recommend that the House should suspend Mr Vaz from its service for six months.”

Bridgen will be especially pleased. Today is his birthday…

The report claims Vaz’s defence(s) consisted of:

  1. He has argued that the audio-recording and transcript are not to be relied upon.
  2. He has asserted that the purpose of his encounter with the two men was not to engage in paid-for sex but to discuss the interior decoration of his flat.
  3. He has implied that because the encounter was a newspaper ‘sting’ operation, the two men ‘steered’ the conversation with Mr Vaz in ways which give a misleading impression.
  4. He has declined to comment on details of his encounter with the two men on grounds of the medical condition of amnesia

However, the report found that “It is difficult, to put it mildly, to see how all these separate defences could simultaneously be true“.

There are also some brilliant quotes, including “My predecessor did not accept, and nor do I, Mr Vaz’s explanation that the men concerned had come, at 11.30pm on a Saturday evening in connection with plans to decorate his flat.

This suspension meets the conditions of the recall act. Is there time for a Leicester East by-election before December 9?…

Read the report in full here…

UPDATE: Speaking to Guido, complainant Andrew Bridgen said:

“I’m glad that the standards commissioner has upheld my complaint after thee years of investigation. Hopefully this is the end of the road for Keith Vaz, a man who is not fit to represent anywhere in Parliament. Leicester deserves much better than this.”

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