VAZ AS IT APPENS

Keith Vaz quits as Home Affairs committee chairman in wake of rent boys scandal



Keith Vaz the ‘Teflon MP’ – in 90 seconds
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  • Keith Vaz quits as home affairs committee chairman
  • Labour MP embroiled in rent boy scandal
  • ‘Those who hold others to account must themselves be accountable’, Vaz writes in resignation statement

Keith Vaz has quit as head of one
of the most influential House of Commons committees after he was
embroiled in rent boy revelations.

Announcing his resignation, the Labour MP said: “Those who hold others to account must themselves be accountable.”

Mr Vaz’s departure as chairman of the Home Affairs Committee comes
days after reports emerged claiming that he paid two male escorts he met
at a flat he owns near his family home in north London last month.



Tim Loughton: We’ve accepted Keith Vaz’s resignation with sadness
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02:42


The 59-year-old Leicester East MP has said he has referred the allegations to his solicitor.

His chairmanship of the committee has come under intense scrutiny and
in a statement on Tuesday Mr Vaz confirmed he would be standing down.

He said: “It is in the best interest of the Home Affairs Select
Committee that its important work can be conducted without any
distractions whatsoever. I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it
impossible for this to happen if I remain Chair.

“I have always been passionate about select committees, having served
as either chair or member for half of my time in Parliament. The
integrity of the Select Committee system matters to me. Those who hold
others to account, must themselves be accountable.”

3:23PM

‘Vaz revelations won’t undermine committee’s work’

Mr Loughton denied the committee’s inquiry into prostitution was undermined by the revelations.

He pointed out that the investigation was initiated by another member of the committee.

“The integrity of that has not altered at all,” Mr Loughton said.

“There is further work to be done on that particular subject as well
as other subjects and they will be carried on by the new committee and
by the new chair when he or she is elected.”


Tim Loughton, now acting chairman of the Home Affairs committee
Tim Loughton, now acting chairman of the Home Affairs committee

Credit:
Rex Features

But the acting chair said the
media attention Mr Vaz will continue to attract could put at risk the
integrity of the committee’s work.

“Clearly that could be ongoing and that could undermine the very
important work and very important studies that we need to carry out,” Mr
Loughton said.

“And on that basis he has taken that decision and the committee
agreed with him that that was the rightful selection for him to take
with regret.”

3:18PM

Corbyn: Vaz’s position on NEC to be discussed next week 

There have been calls for Keith Vaz to also resign from Labour’s ruling body.



Corbyn: Vaz’s position on NEC to be discussed next week
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01:58


3:06PM

Chuka Umunna: Too soon to say I will replace Vaz

A Labour MP must replace Mr Vaz as the committee chair, according to convention.

Chuka Umunna, Labour’s former shadow business secretary, has been
tipped as his replacement and has spoken frequently in the last few days
on home affairs issues.


Chuka Umunna
Chuka Umunna

Credit:
REX

Asked if he would stand Mr Umunna said it was “too soon” to set out his intentions with the resignation so fresh.

He did not rule out taking over as chair.

3:04PM

Tim Loughton: Committee accepts resignation ‘with sadness’

Tim Loughton, the temporary chair
of the Home Affairs select committee, has confirmed that Keith Vaz has
resigned and that an election will be held for a new Labour member to
take over the chairmanship shortly.

He is acting chair for the next few weeks until the election, likely to be October.

Mr Loughton said: “The committee listened, I think in sadness, to
what Keith had to say and with a great deal of respect, Keith has
clearly acted in the best interests of the Home Affairs select
committee and the important work that we do.”

He added that it is “with sadness we all accepted that was the appropriate course of action” for Mr Vaz to resign.

Mr Loughton said: “All members of the Home Affairs select
committee across all the parties paid very fullsome tributes to the
work that Keith has done.”

2:40PM

Vaz membership of key Labour body ‘to be discussed’

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested that Keith Vaz may lose his place on the party’s ruling body, the NEC.

Asked at a press conference if his membership could be in doubt after
Mr Vaz resigned from the Home Affairs Select Committee this afternoon,
Mr Corbyn said it would be discussed in the coming days.

Earlier, Mr Vaz said he would not be resigning from the committee, which helps to steer Labour policy.

 Mr Vaz reportedly backed Mr Corbyn in a close-run vote recently,
meaning his membership could be key to the Labour leader’s position.

1:31PM

‘Keith has done the right thing’

Owen Smith, the Labour leadership contender, is speaking on the BBC’s World at One.

He says: “Keith has done the right thing resigning as the chair of
the committee I don’t think he could have continued in that role.”

1:30PM

‘I am very sad to see Keith step down’

Chuka Umunna, a Labour MP who sits on the Home Affairs Committee, has said he is “sad to see Keith step down”.

1:28PM

Jeremy Corbyn appears with UB40

Meanwhile, the Labour leader is appearing in a joint press conference with the band UB40.

1:21PM

Keith Vaz not quitting role on NEC

According to Channel 4 news, Keith Vaz will not step down from his role on Labour’s executive body. 

1:16PM

Keith Vaz resignation ‘inevitable’

David Burrowes, the
Conservative MP who sits on the Home Affairs Committee, has said Keith
Vaz’s resignation was “inevitable” and his position of chair had become
“untenable”.

He added that his position had been “fatally compromised” by his actions.

The MP adds that he understands Mr Vaz will not even sit on the Committee as a regular member.

The Conservative MP Tim Loughton will take over as Home Affairs Committee chair on interim basis.

12:44PM

Keith Vaz stands down

Labour MP Keith Vaz has quit as
chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs  Select Committee in the
wake of rent boy revelations.

Here is his statement:

It is in the best interest of the Home Affairs Select Committee that
its important work can be conducted without any distractions whatsoever.

I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it impossible for this to happen if I remain Chair.

I have always been passionate about Select Committees, having served
as either Chair or Member for half of my time in Parliament.

The integrity of the Select Committee system matters to me. Those who hold others to account, must themselves be accountable.

I am immeasurably proud of the work the Committee has undertaken over
the last 9 years, and I am privileged to have been the longest serving
Chair of this Committee.

This work has included the publication of 120 reports, hearing
evidence from Ministers 113 times, and hearing from a total of 1379
witnesses. I am very pleased that so many Members of the Committee have
gone onto high office and Ministerial positions.

I told the Committee today of my decision to stand aside immediately
from Committee business, and my intention to resign. This is my
decision, and mine alone, and my first consideration has been the effect
of recent events on my family.

I have recommended that in the interim, Tim Loughton MP, the senior Conservative member, should Chair proceedings.

After speaking to the House authorities, I will formally tender my
resignation to Mr Speaker so that it coincides with the timetable for
the election of other Committee Chairs, such as the Brexit Committee,
Culture, Media and Sport, and Science and Technology, so that the
elections can take place together.

I would like to thank my fellow members of the Committee, past and present, for their tremendous support.

I would also like to thank the Clerks of the House for the amazing
work they have done to strengthen the Select Committee system, we are
not quite on par with the United States, but we are getting there.

They are a vital body for the scrutiny of government. I would like to
particularly thank my two Clerks, Tom Healey and Carol Oxborough.


Keith Vaz leaves his home in north west London this morning 
Keith Vaz leaves his home in north west London this morning 

Credit:
TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

12:12PM

Keith Vaz friend: ‘He will stand down’

A friend of Keith Vaz has told The Sun: “He realises he has to go. He will stand down, not step aside.”

11:50AM

Showdown for Keith Vaz

Keith Vaz will be meeting fellow members of the House of Commons home affairs committee at around 2pm.

It will be a private session in which he will be expected to address
the scandal that he has been hit with over the last few days.

11:07AM

Could Keith Vaz face vote of no confidence?

If Keith Vaz does not resign
voluntarily today, it has been suggested that the Labour MP could face a
vote of no confidence from fellow members of the Conservative-dominated
committee.

Commons rules allow a chairman to be removed by a vote of a majority
of the committee, including at least two MPs from the largest party
represented and one from another party.


Keith Vaz
Keith Vaz

Credit:
REX/Shutterstock

But the rules also state that
notice of a motion of this kind must be circulated 10 days before the
vote is held, meaning that there would not be time for it to happen
before the committee meets again on Wednesday to question Home Secretary
Amber Rudd.

Parliament’s three-week break for party conferences, which starts at
the end of next week, means the earliest date for a no confidence vote
would not come until October.

The committee is made up of six Conservative MPs, four from Labour –
including Mr Vaz – and one from the Scottish National Party, meaning
that at least one Labour member or the SNP’s Stuart McDonald would have
to join with Tories to force the chairman out.

10:49AM

Ken Livingstone wades into Keith Vaz rent boy scandal

Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has defended Keith Vaz in a very Ken Livingstone sort of way.

10:05AM

Timeline of events

Let’s take a moment to recall everything that has happened since the story about Keith Vaz broke.

9:59AM

Ed Balls: Keith Vaz should resign

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls
has told Good Morning Britain that he believes Keith Vaz should resign
as chairman of the home affairs committee following allegations he used
male escorts.

Mr Balls said: “I think he will. I think in the end, yes.”


Ed Balls appears on Good Morning Britain with presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid
Ed Balls appears on Good Morning Britain with presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid

Credit:
Rex Features

9:09AM

Who could replace Keith Vaz?

Some people’s attentions are
already turning to who Mr Vaz’s replacement could be if he quits as
chairman of the home affairs committee later today.

9:01AM

‘Keith Vaz will quit today’

Keith Vaz is now expected to quit his role as home affairs committee chairman.

A source said: “He will let them know his decision late today. He needs to let the committee continue its work.”


Keith Vaz leaving his home yesterday
Keith Vaz leaving his home yesterday

Credit:
PA

8:33AM

Keith Vaz expected to quit as home affairs chairman

Keith Vaz is expected to be told
to quit his role as chairman of the powerful House of Commons home
affairs committee in the wake of tabloid claims that he paid male
prostitutes for sex.

Mr Vaz is due to meet with the committee in the Commons this
afternoon to give his side of the story after Sunday Mirror claimed that
he paid for sex and offered to take poppers and pay for cocaine for the
rent boys.

MPs on the committee were preparing to call a vote of no confidence
in Mr Vaz and it was reported by the BBC this morning that he is now
expected to be asked to “justify” himself. If he is not able to do so,
he will be asked to quit.

The meeting comes after Theresa May, the Prime Minister, put pressure
on the Labour MP by saying that any decision to resign was one “for him
to take”.

Mr Vaz is Parliament’s longest serving select committee chairman, a
position he has held on the committee since 2007. Hewas re-elected with
411 votes from MPs last year, the biggest mandate of any select
committee chairman.

On Monday, in the House of Commons, Mr Vaz returned to work, taking
his usual seat on the backbenches and asking questions of Home
Secretary Amber Rudd and then Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood.

Mr Vaz was originally reported to have agreed to stand down as
chairman in the hours after the Sunday Mirror disclosed the claims on
Sunday morning.


Keith Vaz is MP for Leicester East
Keith Vaz is MP for Leicester East

Credit:
Marc Ward/REX/Shutterstock 

However by Sunday evening it
became clear Mr Vaz would not resign immediately because he first wanted
to put his side of the story to the MPs at the private meeting and then
to answer their questions.

Mr Vaz’s resignation would see former Conservative minister Tim
Loughton replace Mr Vaz as the committee’s acting chairman ahead of a
formal election of another Labour chairman by all MPs.



Keith Vaz avoids reporters as he leaves home
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Friends of Mr Vaz have claimed
that he has the support of all of the MPs on the committee. One told the
Telegraph: “Not one of them wants him to go.”

However another committee source said that any hope of Mr Vaz that he
could “delay all this, lie low, weather the storm and then come back.
That is hugely wishful thinking”.

The source said: “I can’t see how his position is tenable – every
time there is an inquiry on the subject of drugs, prostitution, he will
have to declare an interest, or the focus will be on Keith Vaz.”

The source said if Mr Vaz refused to quit the other MPs – who do not
have any power to expel him – could pass a vote of no confidence in his
position.

The source said: “We can have a vote of no confidence in him as
chairman – but that does not remove him as a member of the committee.

“It would be untenable if we had a vote of no confidence and he remained on the committee – it would look ridiculous.”



Owen Smith: I’m not going to comment on Keith Vaz
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Mrs May was asked by a Telegraph journalist about the scandal at a press conference on the margins of the G20 in China.

She replied that MPs had a duty to their constituents but stressed that decisions on his future were a matter for Mr Vaz.

She said: “What Keith does is for Keith and any decisions he wishes
to make are for him. But I think overall what people look for is
confidence in their politicians.”

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