Assault allegations as ex-MP Keith Vaz elected chair of Constituency Labour Party

Angus Walker

Former ITV News Correspondent

A Labour member has said she was assaulted at a meeting of the party's Leicester East Constituency after being blocked from raising objections as the group elected disgraced former MP Keith Vaz as its new Chair.

The woman, who doesn't want to be named, says she was "locked out" of the meeting which she describes as a "rigged election".

Mr Vaz was elected after a show of hands in a packed meeting room.

"I was pinned up against the wall" she claims.

A Labour party councillor alleged to have held her arm behind her back told ITV News "the matter is now in police hands and so I cannot comment."

A photo which appears to show the woman's bandaged hand after she was treated at a local medical centre, has been seen by ITV News.

A complaint was made to Leicester police at the time and today a force spokeswoman said: "Police have received a report of an assault at Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre yesterday evening.

"Further enquiries are being carried out into the allegation to establish whether any criminal offences have occurred."

Keith Vaz who was facing a six month suspension from the House of Commons after he was found to have “expressed willingness” to purchase cocaine for sex workers, decided to retire from Parliament last November just before the last general election.

His election last night is a surprise return to local politics in a constituency he represented for more than 30 years.

Helen Lentell, chair of the Leicester Labour Campaign Forum told ITV News there was "no unpleasantness" at the meeting and that Mr Vaz was "a popular person in Leicester East" who was elected by a large majority.

Mr Vaz was given the longest ban ever received by an MP.

A parliamentary inquiry examined claims published in the Sunday Mirror in 2016 that he offered to buy cocaine for male sex workers while posing as an industrial washing machine salesman called Jim.

At the time, Vaz was chair of the home affairs select committee, which was examining the issues of drug use and prostitution.

Vaz’s explanation, which included that he had amnesia and could not recall key events, was “not believable and, indeed, ludicrous”, the inquiry found.

Despite facing the longest ban ever imposed by parliament last year, Mr Vaz is also a member of Labour’s ruling body, the national executive committee.

North West Leicestershire Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told ITV News: “Vaz has been a malign influence upon UK politics for too long and it’s deeply disappointing that he is still seen as a credible representative of the party in Leicester.”

ITV News has tried to contact Keith Vaz for comment.