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#Powerful: Keith Vaz re-elected as influential chair of Home Affairs Select Committee

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz has been re-elected chairman of the powerful House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, despite being embroiled in the on-going Lalit Modi saga.

Mr Vaz, a hugely popular figure among British Asians, beat out Labour colleague Fiona McTaggert for the role.

In his application for the position, Mr Vaz had stated: “The Select Committee system is one of the most important and impressive features of our parliamentary democracy, and it is one that we should cherish. 

“As chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee in the last Parliament, I always ensured that the views and suggestions of all Members were given careful, proper and equal consideration, and I have been strongly committed to the Committee’s success in carrying out effective and thorough scrutiny to achieve significant and lasting impact.

“I am immensely appreciative of the cross-party support that I received in this role. I have always felt that Select Committees work best when they achieve consensus, and almost all of the reports published by the Home Affairs Select Committee whilst I have been Chair were agreed unanimously by Members of all parties.

“I am deeply proud of the work of the Committee in recent years.  Indeed, a number of our recommendations have subsequently been adopted by the Government.

Mr Vaz added that he is determined to tackle “new and existing challenges” during the current Parliament, including immigration, counter-terrorism and the abuse of prescription drugs.

The Home Affairs Select Committee is the most powerful of all the House of Commons Select Committees with the focus on overseeing the administration, policy and expenditure of the Home Office and its numerous departments.

That remit means that a whole host of important issues are scrutinized by the Committee.

Recent inquiries include such topical issues as Female Genital Mutilation, counter terrorism, asylum, drugs and child sexual exploitation.

Mr Vaz was elected in spite of the on-going Lalit Modi controversy.

Early this month, he was reported to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner for alleged “conflict of interest” after helping former commissioner of the Indian Premier League obtain emergency travel documents in July 2014.

Mr Vaz reportedly wrote to Director General of Immigration Sarah Rapson in support of Mr Modi’s application for the travel documents but failed to disclose the information when Ms Rapson appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee on an unrelated matter in July.

Mr Vaz has denied any conflict of interest as he had “no personal interest” in Mr Modi’s case and “received no benefit from it”.

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