Ed Miliband may be fighting against an apparent attempt by several senior Labour figures to unseat him as their leader but his party colleague Keith Vaz continues to score well in the popularity stakes.
Leicester East MP Mr Vaz, who is of Goan origin and is one of the most popular figures within Britain’s Asian community, was honoured for his invaluable work for the underrepresented, the deprived and minority sections of the country, according to the citation.
“I am honoured to have been chosen for this award”, Mr Vaz said.
“In my constituency, I work with individuals and groups of all backgrounds, faiths and races. For all groups to be better represented in Parliament, and the wider political process, is a positive and necessary aim in our multicultural society,” he added.
Ed Miliband also acknowledged Mr Vaz’s’ popularity.
“Every time I visit him in Leicester East I see just how hard he works, and just how big a difference he makes to his city. But I also know how big an impact Keith makes on the national stage,” Mr Miliband said.
“For over 32 years, Keith has been a political pioneer and has consistently championed the diversity that makes Britain great and he is well deserved of ‘Labour MP of the year'”.
The MP of the Year Awards are presented by the Patchwork Foundation, which promotes the integration of ethnic minorities into British politics.
Simon Woolley, Patchwork National Advisory Board Member said: “The Awards not only highlights the work MPs are doing to better understand their diverse communities, it also applauds those MP’s who are encouraging greater civic and political engagement.”
“With many young people, particularly from black and minority ethnic communities feeling a huge disconnect from our elected representatives, the MP of the year awards should be a reminder to all MP’s that we expect them to give voice to those unheard, and in doing so the whole of society benefits,” Woolley said.
That is a concept that Mr Vaz has taken to heart better than any other politician in Britain.
Considered by some to be a controversial figure, he has nevertheless earned widespread respect and renown within Britain’s sizeable and influential British Asian community as its’ go-to man be it to organize a cross-party celebration of a religious festival in Parliament or throwing his time and not-inconsiderable clout behind community issues.
Mr Vaz is the second winner of the annual awards after Sadiq Khan, the British-Pakistani Shadow Justice Secretary.