Keith Vaz was first elected in June 1987 and was subsequently re-elected as a Member of Parliament 7 times. He was the first person of Asian origin to sit in the House of Commons since 1922. He was Britain’s Minister for Europe under Tony Blair. He was elected Chairman of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee in 2007 by a vote of the whole house and was re-elected in 2010 and in June 2015. He will serve in that post until 2020.
In 2006 he was appointed by the then Prime Minister to chair the National Executive Committee’s Ethnic Minority Taskforce, a position he still holds. In 2007 he was elected as a member of the Labour Party’s ruling National Executive Committee.
Born to Goan parents in Aden, Yemen he was educated at Cambridge University where he studied law and then became a solicitor.
Elected as the youngest Labour Member of Parliament in 1987, he was appointed an Opposition Spokesman on regeneration and established the City 2020 Commission. When Labour was elected to government in 1997 he was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General. He then became a Junior Justice Minister and was quickly promoted to become a Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where he helped negotiate the enlargement of the European Union. In 2001 he became the senior Labour member on the Justice Committee.
His interests include health issues, in particular diabetes prevention, Yemen, and Tamil issues. He is currently Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Yemen and Diabetes, and founded the All Party Parliamentary Tamil Group. He has been appointed as a Member of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS) in the 2015-2020 Parliament.
He is married with two children.