Friday, September 24, 2021

Independent panel says Keith Vaz should be ashamed of his behaviour towards Commons clerk

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Because of the background of his victim, the Belfast Telegraph has the fullest report of today's findings against Keith Vaz, the former Labour MP for Leicester East.

The newspaper says:

A former MP bullied a member of parliamentary staff in a “hostile, sustained, (and) harmful” way, a report has found.

An independent panel said former Labour MP for Leicester East MP Keith Vaz bullied and harassed Northern Ireland woman Jenny McCullough, who has waived her right to anonymity, to such an extent that she left her career in the House of Commons.

And the panel said Mr Vaz should be “ashamed” of his behaviour as it ruled he should never again be allowed to hold a parliamentary pass.

Mr Vaz had likened Ms McCullough to a prostitute, told her she could not do her job because she was not a mother, and threatened to take photographs of her drinking alcohol to show to her boss.

Sir Stephen Irwin, chair of the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which decided on the sanctions to be levelled against Mr Vaz, said his actions had a “real and enduring psychological impact”. 

The IEP was appointed after the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards concluded that Vaz had, on several occasions between July 2007 and October 2008, breached the bullying and harassment policy in his interactions with Jenny McCullough, the second clerk of the Commons committee for which Vaz was chairman.

You can read the full report on the parliament website.

And you can read Keith Vaz's response, which appears to deal with matters of process rather than contest the truth of the findings against him, on Twitter.

If you find yourself on a train journey and at a loss for some sensational reading, try the Wikipedia entry on Keith Vaz or his label on this blog.

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