Biography

Keith Vaz was first elected in June 1987 and has been re-elected as a Member of Parliament 6 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 now serves as the Chairman of the influential Home Affairs Committee, a Parliamentary committee that scrutinises the work of the Home Office. The portfolio of the committee includes policing, counter terrorism, immigration and the justice and home affairs agenda of the European Union.

Four years ago he was elected as a member of the Labour Party’s ruling National Executive Committee and he was appointed by the Prime Minister in 2006 to chair its Ethnic Minority Taskforce, a position he still holds.

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 and in 2007 was elected Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee and was re-elected for a further term in 2010 by a vote of the whole Parliament.

His interests include health issues, in particular diabetes prevention, Yemen, and Tamil issues. He chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yemen and founded the All Party Parliamentary Tamil Group and is a former President of the Indo-British Parliamentary Group.

He is married with two children.