Keith Vaz is facing calls to stand down as a Labour candidate after a scathing Commons report recommended he should face a six-month suspension.

The Standards Committee found the MP had caused “significant damage” to the reputation of the House after he expressed a willingness to purchase cocaine for others during an encounter with male prostitutes.

The committee, the Commons disciplinary body, said his explanation that he may have been given a “spiked” drink and that he was suffering from amnesia was “not believable and, indeed, ludicrous”.

Diane Abbott
Diane Abbott has called on Keith Vaz to stand down as a Labour candidate (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

MPs endorsed the recommended suspension without a formal vote.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg also said the committee has asked him or the next person in his role to bring forward the necessary motion to ensure the suspension continues in the next Parliament and does not just last for the remainder of this session before the election.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said Mr Vaz should now stand aside as the Labour candidate for Leicester East, the seat he has held since 1987.

“I think he should consider his position.

“I think he himself should agree not to be a candidate,” she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“It has been a very sad issue, not just for him but for his family and his children.”

When it was put to her that Mr Vaz, who was chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee at the time of the incident, had not had the Labour whip withdrawn, she replied: “Not yet.”

A statement on Mr Vaz’s website said that he was admitted to hospital on the day the committee’s report was published.

It said he had been receiving treatment for a “serious mental health condition” since details of the encounter were published in the Sunday Mirror in 2016.

Speaking as MPs debate the recommended suspension, Mr Rees-Mogg told the Commons: “The select committee has specifically asked that the next Leader of the House, or me if I continue in office in the new parliament, would bring the suspension forward as soon as the House reassembles so that it isn’t in effect only a two-day suspension – and that’s been specifically requested by the committee.”

Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West) argued that Mr Vaz’s suspension sentence should be doubled to a year.

Speaking about the statement that Mr Vaz has published on his website, Sir Peter said: “I think someone who’s (written) that after the report comes out should have the suspension doubled to a year, and I say this – not a party point – he should not be nominated, if he’s nominated he should not be elected, and if elected he should be suspended for a very long time.”

Fellow Tory MP and member of the Standards Committee Sir Christopher Chope said: “Would it be reasonable, if the right honourable gentleman is returned following the next General Election, for the Standards Committee to revisit this issue having regard to what’s on the website now?”

He continued: “It seems to me that what’s on the website is designed to bring the work of the Standards Committee into disrepute.”