WINTER IS COMING…. VAZ QUITS

Keith Vaz quits as Home Affairs Committee chairman

Media captionEleanor Garnier looks back at Keith Vaz’s political career
Labour MP Keith Vaz has stepped down as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

It follows newspaper claims he paid for the services of two male sex workers.
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. “

At the weekend, the Sunday Mirror published pictures it said
showed Mr Vaz with male sex workers in a flat in north London that he
owns. Illegal drugs were mentioned during a secretly recorded
conversation.
Another Labour MP will now be elected to replace him, with Conservative MP Tim Loughton taking over as interim chairman.
Speaking
after Mr Vaz had informed committee colleagues of his intention to
resign, Mr Loughton said a new chairman should be in place in October.
He
said Mr Vaz had given a “very frank account of what had happened” and
that the committee had accepted his resignation “with sadness”.

Image caption

Home Affairs Committee members held a press conference after Mr Vaz informed them of his resignation

Conservative
MP Andrew Bridgen has said he would refer the matter to the Commons
Standards commissioner and may also report Mr Vaz to police.
Married father-of-two Mr Vaz said he was referring the paper’s allegations to his solicitor.


Keith Vaz biography

  • Born in 1956 to Goan parents in Aden
    in what is now Yemen, he went to Cambridge University where he studied
    law and then became a solicitor
  • The Labour Party politician has been MP for Leicester East since 1987
  • He is Parliament’s longest-serving British Asian MP and has chaired the influential Home Affairs Select Committee since 2007
  • He was Britain’s Minister for Europe under Tony Blair and said the vote to leave the EU was a “catastrophe”
  • His sister Valerie is Labour MP for Walsall South

Keith Vaz – the ‘Teflon politician’


In
his statement announcing his resignation from the chairman role he has
held for nine years, Mr Vaz said: “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 nine 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.
“This is my decision, and mine alone, and my first consideration has been the effect of recent events on my family.”

Media captionA member of the home affairs committee says Keith Vaz’s resignation was inevitable.

He added: “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.”
Labour MP Chuka
Umunna, who sits on the Home Affairs committee, said Mr Vaz had done a
“fine job” as chairman, but said he had made the right decision in
stepping down.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Vaz’s future on the party’s ruling National Executive would be discussed when it meets.
He
said: “He’s made his decision because he felt that to carry on in the
circumstances that he is now involved in would detract from the work of
the Home Affairs committee and so he has made that decision for
himself.”

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