In the wake of the allegations that he paid for the services of two male prostitutes, Keith Vaz has resigned as the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee. Since 2007 he had headed this most influential Commons’ committee. He was not fit to be appointed because in his words “Those who hold others to account must themselves be accountable.” He has failed to be accountable on important issues since. Keith Vaz’s resignation was overdue.
Keith Vaz ‘Dear Friend’ of Granville Janner
In 1991 Frank Beck was guilty of sexually abusing the children in his care. He claimed the man responsible for the offences was Leicester West MP the late Lord Janner.
Jay Rayner, reporter, intended to investigate the matter but during a Commons debate MPs across party spoke very positively of Janner. Keith Vaz was chief amongst them, he said his dear friend had been the “victim of a cowardly and wicked attack.”
In 2015 the DPP said that Janner’s dementia prevented him from being charged. The DPP also acknowledged that he should have charged him at the time of the offences. Keith Vaz did not modify or explain his support of Janner or answer the questions raised. His silence was his refusal to be accountable. On the other hand, he excoriated the Home Office for its handling of the child abuse inquiry.
The Scandal Years
Just a circumscribed history of the scandals involving Vaz shows that his behaviour should have barred him from sitting in judgement on others.
As European Minister in 1999, he had involvement by way of ‘representation’ with processing a British passport application for one of the billionaire Hinduja brothers. It led to his suspension from the Commons for one month for providing misleading information. In 2000 he failed to declare money he had received from a solicitor. In 2002 he made false and malicious allegations against police officer Eileen Eggington. By 2009 he had claimed more than £75,000 for his Westminster flat. Ironically, his family home was merely 12 miles from Parliament.
Keith Vaz’s Resignation Was Overdue
Caught up in many scandals, Keith Vaz has managed to wait them out. I don’t understand how he became a guardian of morals. He has always been an inappropriate choice for the Home Affairs Select Committee. Vaz should have resigned some time ago, and certainly for not addressing the Janner affair. Whether he should remain as an MP is a matter for his constituents. Sadly, they cannot force Keith Vaz to resign. Our laws do not provide this remedy for when MPs behave badly.
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