LONDON: One of Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin member of parliament, Keith Vaz, has been appointed as vice-chairman of the Labour party.
The Party does not have a leader at present with Ed Miliband resigning after the recent election debacle.
This effectively makes 58-year-old Vaz the top man in the party at the moment. Vaz has been an MP since 1987 was re-elected from his Leicester East stronghold at the May 7 general election.
He received 61% of the votes. Vaz was first elected MP in June 1987 and has been re-elected as a MP six times.
Born to Goan parents in Aden, Yemen, Vaz who also serves as the chair of the influential home affairs select committee in the House of Commons was educated at Cambridge University where he studied law and then became a solicitor.
Vaz has his roots in Anjuna. His sister Valerie Vaz is also a Labour MP.
Vaz said “I am delighted to have been appointed as vice-chairman of the Labour Party. After coming through a difficult election, it is time for the party to regroup and bring fresh new ideas to the table. Playing a part in that process is a source of great pride for me”.
Vaz has been appointed by acting leader of the opposition Harriet Harman.
His appointment clearly follows Labour’s interest in garnering the all-important Indian origin support in the future.
The Indian community has been growing in prominence year by year. In 1987, there were only two members of Indian origin in both the houses of parliament. Today, there are over 25 – over 10 times.
Recent data showed that up to a million ethnic minority votes helped put David Cameron back into Downing Street.