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Independent Expert Panel reprimands former MP Keith Vaz for “hostile, sustained and harmful” behaviour

23 September 2021

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The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has today published their report which states that Keith Vaz, the former Member of Parliament for Leicester East should never have his eligibility to hold a former Member’s pass restored, for breaching Parliament’s bullying and harassment policy.

Mr Vaz was Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee from July 2007 to September 2016. The Complainant was the Committee’s Second Clerk from April 2007 to October 2008. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards concluded that Mr Vaz had, on several occasions between July 2007 and October 2008, breached the bullying and harassment policy in his interactions with the Complainant.

A sub-panel of the Independent Expert Panel was appointed to determine the sanction to be imposed. Mr Vaz has not communicated with the sub-panel in any way.

The sub-panel carefully considered claims from Mr Vaz’s medical adviser that he was too ill to participate in the panel’s proceedings. However, following a review of publicly available material demonstrating his ongoing public media and political activity, the sub-panel concluded that it did not doubt that the Respondent has health problems, but that there was no good basis for concluding that those health problems precluded him from engagement with the Panel.

The sub-panel concluded that, if Mr Vaz currently held a pass to the House of Commons as a former Member it would have been appropriate to remove it. His eligibility to hold a former Member’s pass should never be restored.

A 2019 report from the House of Commons Committee on Standards, approved by the House, concluded that Mr Vaz should not be eligible for a former Member’s pass for a separate breach of the House of Commons Code of Conduct.

Sir Stephen Irwin, Chair of the IEP said: “The sub-panel found that the Respondent’s misconduct represented sustained and unpleasant bullying, with a real and enduring psychological impact; and that it led to the Complainant leaving her career in the House of Commons. It concluded that if he currently held a pass to the House of Commons as a former Member it would have been appropriate to remove it. His eligibility to hold a former Member’s pass should never be restored.

The Respondent’s conduct deserves a clear and formal reprimand. The Respondent’s conduct to the complainant was hostile, sustained, harmful and unworthy of a Member of Parliament. He should be ashamed of his behaviour.

The full report is available on Parliament’s website.