Longest-serving British Indian MP announces retirement

File photo: Keith Vaz.  Photograph:( ANI )

ANI London, United Kingdom Nov 11, 2019, 11.37 AM (IST)

Britain's longest-serving Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz announced his retirement from the parliament on Sunday, weeks after Commons Standards Committee recommended he should be handed a six-month suspension over cocaine and prostitute scandal.

The 62-year-old was found to have "expressed a willingness" to purchase cocaine for others during an encounter with male prostitutes. Subsequently, he had faced calls to step down, including his own party.

A Labour MP for Leicester East from the past 32 years, Vaz announced his retirement, clearing he will not stand in the next month's General Elections, reported the Independent.

"I have decided to retire after completing 32 years as the Member of Parliament for Leicester East," Vaz said in a statement. "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." "I want to thank the people of Leicester East for their absolute loyalty and support," he added.

Reacting to Vaz's announcement, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn described him as "among the pioneering group of black and Asian Labour MPs elected in 1987."

"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," Corbyn said.

Vaz's resignation comes after the standards committee found he "caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons".