QotD: “Keith Vaz quits as Home Affairs Committee chairman”

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 [prostitutes].

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 [prostitutes] 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”.

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has said he would refer the matter to the Commons Standards commissioner and may also report Mr Vaz to police.

Full article here

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One response

  1. Well, why did Keith Vaz have to go? Where was the sacred “public interest” in a couple of male prostitutes and the Sunday Mirror turning him over? Two problems last week that, briefly, inevitably, sent lawyers and privacy campaigners reaching for press codes and codicils. When in doubt, find a clarifying clause. Did any available definition fit the offence?

    Try the new – indeed, not yet fully consecrated – Impress code, drawn up by Leveson aficionados. “In certain circumstances, there may be a public-interest justification for a particular method of newsgathering or item of content which may otherwise breach the code. A public interest means that the public has a legitimate stake in a story because of the contribution it makes to a matter of importance to society.” Such interests include, but are not limited to, “the revelation or discussion of matters such as serious impropriety, incompetence or unethical behaviour that affects the public ; putting the record straight where an individual or organisation has misled the public on a matter of public importance; … the proper administration of government …”

    There are more exceptions, but surely “unethical behaviour” fits the bill. Unless, of course, you want to push codes and complications aside and just apply common-sense tests of the bleeding obvious. Or as Mrs May, a one-woman code committee, succinctly puts it: “What Keith does is for Keith … But overall, what people want is confidence in their politicians.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/sep/11/impress-no-code-could-save-keith-vaz-press-regulation-leveson

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