Keith vaz

The Steerpike Awards of 2021

Well 2021 is at an end and what a hell of a year it’s been. There were laughs, tears, shock, disgust and despair – and that was just the reaction to footage of Matt Hancock’s video nasty. The past twelve months have seen various ups and downs in Britain and abroad, ranging from the highlights of the vaccine rollout and England’s Euro run to low points like the Capitol coup, the Afghanistan debacle and various pandemic pitfalls. And Mr S has been there throughout it all to chart the gossip, drama, high politics and low shenanigans. Tony Benn once sniffed that it was ‘issues, not personalities’ that mattered; Steerpike holds that the inverse is true when

How Keith Vaz tried to avoid punishment by claiming male escorts were ‘decorators’

Keith Vaz is facing the longest suspension in history after the Commons Standards Committee found he had breached the MPs’ Code of Conduct by paying two male escorts for sex and offering to cover the cost of cocaine for a third man. The Committee – which is made up of MPs and lay members, said he had ’caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole’, and said it represented ‘a very serious breach of the Code’. This brings to an end a row which has gone on since August 2016, when Vaz met the two men in his flat. One of them

Watch: Corbyn joins Keith Vaz to celebrate ‘Diversity Nite’ comeback

After a conspicuous one year absence, Keith Vaz’s ‘Diversity Nite’ has made a comeback at Labour’s conference. Vaz kept a low profile at last year’s party gathering in the wake of allegations surrounding a pair of rent boys. This year, Vaz’s big conference bash – which involves members of the shadow cabinet dancing while Vaz presides on stage – made a return. Behind Vaz flashed up pictures of the likes of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, as guests munched on Leicester’s finest Biryanis. On stage, Jeremy Corbyn was presented as the guest of honour by Vaz to chants of ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’ from the crowd. Here’s a video of Jez’s

Keith Vaz’s ‘Diversity Nite’ comeback

Keith Vaz kept a low profile at last year’s Labour party conference. In the wake of allegations surrounding a pair of rent boys, Vaz had to call off his annual ‘diversity’ shindig. Now, a year on he is returning to the limelight – and his ‘Diversity Nite’ is back on. The event, held in Brighton’s Walkabout nightclub, is hailed as a chance to ‘join Keith Vaz and the Labour Party’s Ethnic Minority Taskforce to celebrate diversity with special guests’: Mr S for one is looking forward to it…

Tom Goodenough

The Spectator podcast: The Brexit bounce

On the morning of the 24th June, Britain woke to find its stock market shattered and its pound pummelled. It appeared – for a brief moment – like all the prophecies of the Brexit doomsayers, not least the Great Seer Osborne, had come true. But then, from the wreckage of that mid-summer morning, green shoots began to appear, and now, more than two months down the line, it seems that Britain has bounced back. In his cover piece this week, Ross Clark argues that the Remain campaign fell victim to the perils of believing their opinion to be ‘objective fact’, and that economic recovery has humiliated the Treasury, Bank of

Portrait of the Week – 8 September 2016

Home David Davis, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, made his first statement to the Commons and said that if membership of a single market meant having to give up control of United Kingdom borders, ‘that makes it very improbable’. The official spokesman for Theresa May, the Prime Minister, who was away in China, disagreed, claiming that Mr Davis was merely ‘setting out his opinion’. ‘Saying something is probable or improbable,’ she said, ‘I don’t think is necessarily a policy.’ Speaking in China about freedom of movement after Brexit, Mrs May said: ‘I want a system where the government is able to decide who comes into the

Barometer | 8 September 2016

In it together Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley were elected co-leaders of the Green party. Has a political party had co-leaders before? — The Green party of Aotearoa, New Zealand, founded in 1990 from an earlier Values Party, has been co-led since 1995, when Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald were elected. The party, which gained 6.9% of the vote in the 1990 general election, is currently the third largest political party in New Zealand with 14 seats and 10.7% of the vote in the 2014 general election. — Inspired by its example, New Zealand’s Alliance Party also adopted co-leaders in 2004, but failed to arrest its decline. It was de-registered

What the papers say: May’s ‘flawed’ plan and the ‘short-sighted’ rejection of Farage

Theresa May used her first big speech on foreign policy last night to spell out the need for globalisation to change. She adopted a softer approach than she did in her conference speech, when she went on the warpath against the liberal elite, says James Forsyth. Yet she remained clear: this year’s political upheaval shows something needs to give. It’s hard to fault that thinking, but while many would agree with the Prime Minister, does May have the answers for what this change should look like? No, says the Guardian, which slates Theresa May for having no answers to the key questions left following Donald Trump’s election victory. The paper says the Prime Minister

Letters | 15 September 2016

What immigration debate? Sir: Henrik Jonsson says (Letters, 10 September) that Swedes ought to learn from the Brits how to maintain a broad and dynamic public debate. I can’t say I witnessed anything approximating public debate on the topic of immigration during the referendum, when the debate was carried out through the ballot box, not in reasonable parliamentary discussion. What we need is for more senior politicians to be willing to engage in public discourse and take a non-careerist approach. Too many leaders have thought it best to avoid this toxic issue rather than risk their positions. As Enoch Powell once described the typical politicians’ view on immigration, ‘It’s better for

Low life | 15 September 2016

Last week in Ladakh I went panting from one Buddhist monastery to another. Culturally, racially and historically, Ladakh is Tibetan, and the type of Buddhism practised there is Tibetan Buddhism. With a knowledgable local guide we visited the great Ladakhi monasteries at Basgo, Likir, Thikse, Alchi and Lamayuru. At each one we climbed the steps, took off our shoes and paid our respects in the inner temples. Once our eyes had become accustomed to the dark, we examined the carved, gaudily painted statues of Buddhas, deities, personifications, guardian spirits, Bodhisattvas and whatnot that we found within. The guide conscientiously explained these representations’ various functions and positions within the Buddhist cosmology.

The Spectator podcast: The Brexit bounce | 10 September 2016

On the morning of the 24th June, Britain woke to find its stock market shattered and its pound pummelled. It appeared – for a brief moment – like all the prophecies of the Brexit doomsayers, not least the Great Seer Osborne, had come true. But then, from the wreckage of that mid-summer morning, green shoots began to appear, and now, more than two months down the line, it seems that Britain has bounced back. In his cover piece this week, Ross Clark argues that the Remain campaign fell victim to the perils of believing their opinion to be ‘objective fact’, and that economic recovery has humiliated the Treasury, Bank of

Labour’s ex-frontbenchers make the most of life outside the shadow cabinet

What can you fill your time with if you’re a former Labour frontbencher left twiddling your thumbs as a result of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership? Well, as Caroline Flint and Chuka Umunna have shown this week by launching themselves into campaigns to replace Keith Vaz, chairing a select committee is a pretty attractive option, particularly when it is one as prestigious as the Home Affairs Committee. But both have also shown over the past few months that it is possible to be a forlorn former frontbencher and still achieve something. Umunna was on the airwaves on Monday morning talking about migration controls: a slot his Shadow Cabinet colleagues might only dream

A rent boy’s guide to politicians and other clients

This article is an excerpt from the latest issue of The Spectator, out tomorrow. I am not surprised that Keith Vaz has been caught sleeping with male hookers. I’m one myself and so I know that overweight married Asians are our staple. We often joke that without Indians and-Middle Eastern guys, we’d all be broke. They are always married. I’ve always been sickened by the way they betray their wives, but they aren’t paying me for my judgment. There are different types of rent boy. Some are very young, slim and smooth. They are called twinks. I am dark, hairy and muscled, which appeals to certain clients who want a


Chuka can: his next leadership bid starts now

Last summer, Chuka Umunna disappointed his Blairite mentors when he dropped out of the Labour leadership race. Explaining his decision, Umunna said that he was uncomfortable with the level of pressure and scrutiny on both himself and his loved ones. A lot has changed since then. With Jeremy Corbyn leading a fractious party — and Umunna now happily married — could a comeback be on the cards? After Keith Vaz stepped down from his role as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, Umunna has today confirmed that he will stand in the election to replace Vaz. Umunna — who is already on the committee — will have

Ken Livingstone tries to defend Keith Vaz – but talks about Hitler instead

Today Keith Vaz has stepped down as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee following a series of claims about his personal life. His decision comes after a number of his Labour comrades tried to help his cause by going onto the airwaves to wax lyrical about their colleague. Simon Danczuk — who is currently suspended from the party for sexting a 17-year-old — appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show to claim that Vaz is a well-respected MP. He was joined by Ken Livingstone — who is currently suspended from the party over his claim that Hitler was ‘supporting Zionism’ before he ‘went mad and ended up killing six million Jews’. Livingstone did manage to wax lyrical about

Tom Goodenough

Keith Vaz finally steps aside

Keith Vaz has finally stepped down as chairman of the Home Affairs select committee following allegations surrounding a pair of male prostitutes. In a statement (which was published on Twitter ahead of an embargo), Vaz had this to say: 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. The integrity of the select committee system matters to me. Those who hold others to account must themselves be accountable. That Vaz has bowed to pressure might not seem a

Douglas Murray

Keith Vaz’s rent boys have done a valuable political job

Why do people always fall from grace for the wrong reasons? I had always hoped that if Keith Vaz finally fell from whatever form of grace he could lay claim to, it would be for really good reasons.  Regular readers will know that my detestation of him dates back to 1989 when as a young MP he first offered support to Salman Rushdie in the business of the Ayatollah’s fatwa and then a few weeks later led a demonstration of thousands of angry British Muslims in opposition to Rushdie and his novel. Someone who is capable of that is capable of absolutely anything. Such as hauling the Metropolitan Police in front of your

Tom Goodenough

Will Keith Vaz cling on?

If yesterday’s appearance of Keith Vaz in the Commons was a show of defiance, today will be a taste of reality for the Labour MP. The steely silence when he asked questions in Parliament spoke volumes; MPs are not happy with Vaz’s attempts to carry on as normal in the wake of allegations surrounding a meeting with two male prostitutes at his flat. Yet as far as Vaz was concerned, it was business as usual. That will change this afternoon as he’ll finally have to confront reality. When the Home Affairs Committee meets shortly after 3pm, he’ll find out whether that Sunday Mirror expose is enough to end his chairmanship of

Vaz not going down without a fight

Keith Vaz has just asked a second question in the House of Commons, despite it being unclear whether he can continue as chair of the Home Affairs Committee for the long term following allegations about his private life in the Sunday newspapers. The Leicester East MP, who has a meeting with his committee tomorrow afternoon, is clearly not going down without a fight: he wouldn’t be standing up in the Commons, otherwise. When a scandal-hit MP stands up in the Commons in the days after lurid newspaper headlines, they are normally either mocked and heckled by jubilant colleagues on the other side of the house, or welcomed with supportive noises