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Keith Vaz MP

Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman

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Stories involving Keith Vaz

Vaz: Ministers should defend appointments

Keith Vaz has said ministers should "stop and think very carefully" before rejecting select committee advice on appointments.

In an interview with The House magazine Mr Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs select committee, said pre-confirmation hearings are “a very powerful tool” and minsters should take them more seriously.

The Home Affairs committee is expected to hold a hearing later this month with Tom Winsor, Home Secretary Theresa May’s controversial choice for the post of Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

He raised the example of Vince Cable, who in February appointed Les Ebdon as director of the Office for Fair Access despite over the objections of the Business, Innovation and Skills committee.

Mr Vaz said: “If a select committee says no, I think a minister should stop and think very carefully. And the next stage should not be to just go off and appoint the same person, but to actually come before the committee and defend their views."


Vaz: UK/US extradition agreement 'too one-sided'

Keith Vaz has said the extradition of British student Richard O'Dwyer is the clearest example of the "one-sided" UK/US extradition agreement fails to "protect the rights of British citizens".

The chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee plans to meet with Mr O'Dwyer and his mother next week after it became clear the Sheffield student faced up to 10 years in a high-security US prison for alleged copyright violations after setting up the tvshack.net website in 2007.


Branson to give drugs evidence

Richard Branson will be the first witness to the first parliamentary inquiry into Britain's drug policy for a decade. Mr Branson is part of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a pro-reform group which argues the 'war on drugs' has failed. Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Committee conducting the inquiry, said: "I look forward to hearing the commission's evidence on why the war on drugs has failed and why it is now time to decriminalise drugs and focus on providing treatment to drug users in a bid to bring an end to the destructive cycle of addiction."


MPs probe Rochdale case

MPs are set to question those closely involved with the recent jailing of nine men in Rochdale for sexual offences against young girls.

The Home Affairs Committee will look at the sexual exploitation of children through "localised grooming" drawing on the lessons learnt from the case.

The head of Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Police’s senior policeman will give evidence to MPs.

The Committee Chair, Keith Vaz, said “It is vital that we know the truth about why these abuses took place and that we have robust measures to guard against them.”

The Telegraph reported today that Chief Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal said grooming of white women was a "particular problem" in Asian communities.

The hearing will take place next week.


Police officers taking second jobs

Thousands of police officers are breaking official guidelines to take second jobs as private investigators, security workers and drivers. The Home Affairs Committee pledged to investigate the recent growth in additional business interests after chair Keith Vaz said the potential conflict of interest was "of very serious concern".


Andy Coulson suing News Corp

Andy Coulson is suing News Corporation, the parent company of News International. According to court filings, the lawsuit was filed yesterday.

A lawyer representing phone hacking victims has announced American lawyers intend to file a case against News Corp in the US. Speaking on Sky News' Boulton & Co, Mark Lewis said: "In timescales within the next week or so American lawyers will be issuing a case." Mr Lewis explained that the legal team will be arguing that, as the parent company of News International and the now-defunct News of the World, News Corp is ultimately responsible for the actions of its foreign subsidiaries.

On BBC News, Keith Vaz said the Metropolitan Police made “a mistake” in trying to force the Guardian to reveal its sources on phone hacking by using the Official Secrets Act. Utilising the Official Secrets Act "should ring alarm bells", he added.

According to the Daily Telegraph, News International paid Neil Wallis, former deputy editor of The News of the World, for 'crime exclusives' whilst he was working for Scotland Yard. It is claimed he was paid more than £25,000 by the company during his time at Scotland Yard.