The following article was first printed in The Socialist on March 23, 2001. For another related article that can be found online read the excellent 2001 article “Bribery, Bofors and the Hinduja brothers.“
By Steve Score
Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, survived inquiries into the the billionaire Hinduja brothers, but still faces allegations of sleaze.
There are more claims of an undeclared “financial relationship” with the Hindujas. Tory demands for his resignation are hypocritical, given their sleaze whilst in office. But Vaz’s connections with rich businessmen are typical of the New Labour government.
Elizabeth Filkin accused Vaz, and some prominent Labour Party officials and businessmen, of not co-operating properly with her, so she couldn’t determine the truth of some allegations against him.
Leicester East Constituency Labour Party’s chair had to apologise for trying to put pres sure on one witness. The one proven allegation was that he accepted donations from one businessman while recommending him for an honour.
When Vaz first stood for selection as Labour’s candidate in Leicester East in 1986, he pretended to have left-wing credentials. His claims that he’d take a “workers’ wage” were soon forgotten. During the parliamentary investigation he dropped plans to buy a £900,000 house in London, suggesting he’d a slightly higher income than the average worker!
Vaz seems to see himself as the representative of rich Asian businessmen in Parliament and implies that his detractors are motivated by racism. Yet many local working-class people – Asian, black or white – don’t see him as representing their interests. He did nothing to help parents and community activists fighting the Labour council’s closure of Mundella school.
Davina Utting, member of Humberstone residents’ forum, said:
“He’s too busy career building to remember where his constituency is. Anyone who owns the number of houses he does ought to be forced to hand them over to the homeless people who live on the streets in this city. Like all New Labour MPs they’ve forgotten the meaning of the word socialism.”
In the election, the Socialist Party is standing as part of the Socialist Alliance in Leicester West on a platform of “a socialist MP on a worker’s wage”. We’ll oppose the sleaze and self-enrichment of New Labour MPs.
The need to oppose Keith Vaz in Leicester East is obvious and discussions are taking place to stand a candidate.