And why was he allowed to run – and blow – recent by-election?
Former Labour MP Keith Vaz has been found guilty of ‘sustained and unpleasant bullying’ toward a member of Commons staff, leaving an ‘enduring psychological impact’ on her, by an official ‘Independent Expert Panel’ (IEP) inquiry.
Vaz is no longer an MP, having been automatically deselected as a result of his suspension from Parliament in 2019 for expressing ‘willingness’ to procure cocaine’ for sex workers and failing to cooperate with an investigation – but the IEP has recommended in its findings that he never be allowed another pass onto the parliamentary estate.
Vaz has never been suspended by Labour, despite the string of findings against him, and indeed has served this year as the party’s ‘campaign coordinator’ in Leicester East, where he was accused of ‘hijacking’ the Humberstone and Hamilton by-election campaign – and blew it, with Labour fielding an unlisted candidate, losing disastrously and locals from other constituencies claiming to have been discouraged from helping to campaign.
Labour won the seat in the last local government elections with more than 2,000 votes – but in the by-election this year the party’s tally fell to below 800, behind the Tories’s 1,062.
Labour allowed his supporters in Leicester East to name him the CLP’s ‘honorary president’ – a role that doesn’t exist in the party’s rules. Vaz also serves as the CLP’s representative on the area’s ‘local government committee’.
Vaz has been involved in a string of other scandals during his career, from helping his wife conceal payments in the Hinduja scandal to making false allegations against a former policewoman.
Yet despite the IEP report’s findings, Skwawkbox understands that Vaz has still not been suspended by Labour – whose press office said this afternoon that it was not able to comment.
At a time when Labour conference delegates are being suspended on a whim by the party despite the stress and cost it causes them, as Labour scrambles to protect Starmer sidekick David Evans from democracy, a ‘sustained’ bully has still not been suspended, despite a long list of previous ‘form’ including offering to buy drugs for sex workers.
The IEP also rejected claims by Vaz’s medical adviser that he was too ill to participate in the inquiry, because it said that ‘publicly available material’ showed h had continued to be publicly and politically active.
However, Vaz’s office has claimed about the proceedings and findings, “He has never seen the report, nor has he had the chance to question any witnesses or provide a response” and that he had been denied the opportunity to bring witnesses or respond to the charges.
SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to without hardship, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.