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Britain’s Longest serving Indian-Origin Lawmaker Keith Vaz Steps Down over Sex Scandal

The 59-year-old Goan-origin MP apologised to his wife, children and friends for his act

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Keith Vaz. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Sept 4, 2016: It comes as a shock to many, when one goes through the footage that shows MP Keith Vaz speaking to the men (believed to be Poles) and he reportedly boasted about having unprotected sex.

Labour MP from Leicester since 1987, Keith Vaz, who is a married father of two was keen to keep his real identity a secret. When he allegedly met two male prostitutes, he claimed that he was a washing machine salesman called Jim, mentioned the PTI report.

Mr Vaz’s meeting with two male escorts included a discussion about using the party drug known as “Poppers”. The 59-year-old Goan-origin MP apologised to his wife, children and friends for his act.

“I am genuinely sorry for the hurt and distress that has been caused by my actions, in particular to my wife and children. I will be informing the Committee on Tuesday of my intention to stand aside from chairing the sessions of the Committee with immediate effect,” he said in a statement reported by ‘Sky News’.

He will be stepping aside from the chair of the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, which he has headed for the past 10 years. He, speaking to his lawyer and other members of the committee explains that he has not resigned completely, but temporarily.

The committee is currently examining prostitution in the UK and had issued a report recently saying that soliciting by sex workers to be decriminalised, mentioned PTI report.

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He later issued another statement, which added: “At this time I do not want there to be any distraction from the important work the Home Affairs Select Committee undertakes so well.

A leading news portal quoted, “Select Committees do vital work in holding the government and others to account. We are due to publish two Reports, one into Anti-Semitism and the other into FGM in the next few days, in addition, we have a number of key witnesses.

“I will, of course, inform Committee members first of my plans when we meet on Tuesday.

“My decision has been based entirely on what is in the best interests of the Committee which I have had the privilege of Chairing for the last 9 years.”

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Fellow Home Affairs committee member Naz Shah told Sky News she had spoken to Mr Vaz and “he has done the right thing” by standing aside as chair.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “Keith Vaz has issued a statement on this matter:

“As with all departmental select committees, Keith was elected to the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee by the House of Commons, and his is position is a matter for him and the House”.

Vaz has allegedly paid for sex with two male prostitutes and also offered to pay for a class A or banned drug. Various comments and conversations of Mr. Vaz have been revealed. Most of his chats with various people have gone viral and pictures of condoms on his coffee table, at his flat have also been found out.

Labour shadow health secretary Diane Abbott said ‘I have known Keith for over 30 years, I think this must be a dreadful time for him, and his family – his wife and his two children. And I would rather not comment.’

– Prepared by Manthra Koliyer with inputs from various agencies. 

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Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May Survives Through Vote Of No-Confidence

If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?

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Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Jan. 16, 2019. VOA

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Wednesday, one day after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against her plan to divorce Britain from the European Union.

Surviving the vote enables May to refocus on getting a Brexit deal through parliament. She has until Monday to offer a new proposal to the House of Commons, but it isn’t clear what she will propose.

Shortly after the 325 to 306 vote allowing May to remain in office, she invited party leaders for Brexit talks Wednesday night.

More talks?

May said before the vote Wednesday that Britain would leave the EU on the March 29 target date, and that the bloc would only consider extending the negotiating period if there were a realistic exit plan.

Aides to the prime minister said she will try to buy more time and return to Brussels to try to cajole EU leaders into a renegotiation.

EU leaders have repeatedly rejected the possibility of renegotiations since the deal was concluded in November, but British officials hope Brussels now may offer enough concessions to secure parliamentary backing on a replayed vote on an amended deal.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labor Party, filed a motion of no confidence in the government immediately after the result Tuesday.

Britain would have held a general election had May lost the vote. Most analysts said they expected her to survive the vote, and the minority Northern Ireland party she relies on to keep her minority government in office had said it would back the government.

Tuesday’s vote was the biggest parliamentary reversal ever handed a sitting government, with lawmakers — including more than 100 rebels from her ruling Conservative Party — refusing to endorse the highly contentious Brexit deal.

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Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labor Party, talks during a no-confidence debate after Parliament rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in London, Jan. 16, 2019. VOA

The government’s defeat plunged into greater disarray Britain’s scheduled March 29 exit from the EU. Major questions remain about how and whether it will happen.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Wednesday that after the British parliament’s rejection of a draft agreement detailing the country’s divorce from the EU, the risk of reaching the deadline with no deal in place is higher than ever.

The vote against the agreement was the biggest parliamentary reversal ever handed a sitting government, with lawmakers, including more than 100 rebels from her ruling Conservative party, refusing to endorse the highly contentious Brexit deal.

Just 202 lawmakers backed May’s deal with 432 voting against it. The defeat dwarfed the previous 1924 record when then-Labor Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald lost a vote by 166, triggering the collapse of his government and a general election, which he lost.

After the vote, May said, “The vote tells us nothing” about what the House of Commons would agree to regarding Brexit.

Second referendum

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A pro-European demonstrator protests in front of a Leaver campaign board opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Jan. 15, 2019, ahead of lawmakers’ vote on whether to accept British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Later, the plan was soundly defeated. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29. VOA

The defeat of May’s plan will give further momentum to a burgeoning campaign in the House of Commons, and among Remainers in the country, for a second referendum, according to analysts. Remainers hope a replayed referendum would reverse the Brexit plebiscite of 2016, which Leavers narrowly won.

The vote on the deal — which originally was due in December but was delayed by the government when it became clear there was insufficient backing for it to pass — also leaves hanging in the balance May’s future as prime minister. Her aides maintained at the end of a day of high political drama that she wouldn’t resign.

“She is the person who has to deliver Brexit,” said British Business Minister Claire Perry, who said May didn’t need to resign.

“There will be other attempts at this. There will be strenuous efforts to improve on the deal,” Perry said.

The sheer scale of the defeat throws into doubt whether even a reshaped Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would secure parliamentary approval in the future, even if the EU is prepared to reopen negotiations.

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British Business Minister Claire Perry arrives to attend a Cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, Jan. 15, 2019. VOA

‘Hopelessly optimistic’

“Her Plan B, more of the same, is hopelessly optimistic,” said commentator Isabel Oakeshott.

Also Read: British Lawmakers Rejects Brexit Deal, PM Faces Vote Of No-Confidence

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted when news of the historic vote broke: “I take note with regret of the outcome of the vote in the House of Commons this evening. I urge the UK to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up.”

EU President Donald Tusk reflected the frustration of many in Brussels, tweeting: “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” (VOA)