Garlanded as the first Asian MP in modern times, when elected in 1987, Keith Vaz has often hit the headlines.
Vaz is the great survivor: his propensity for self-reinvention is notorious. From campaign group member to New Labour minister. From Eurosceptic to Euro-enthusiast. His chutzpah is legendary. Joining Muslim marchers opposing the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses back in 1990, he is even said to have offered words of support to the author too.
Starting as a Parliamentary bag barrier, when Labour came to power in 1997, he rose quickly, becoming a minister in the Lord Chancellor’s department before landing one of the plum jobs in government as minister for Europe in 1999.
By now a devout euro-enthusiast, Vaz held this position for two and a half years before resigning at the 2001 general election, citing ill health, caught up, as he was, in the Hinduja brothers’ passport scandal. (more…)