Valerie Vaz

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Valerie Vaz
Member of Parliament
for Walsall South
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Bruce George
Majority 1,755 (4.3%)
Personal details
Born (1954-12-07) 7 December 1954 (age 60)
Aden Colony
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Paul Townsend
Relations Keith Vaz (brother)
Children 1 daughter
Occupation Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

Valerie Carol Marian Vaz[1] (born 7 December 1954) is a British politician and lawyer. A member of the Labour Party, she has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Walsall South since the 2010 general election.


Vaz was born in Aden, Yemen.[2] Her family originates from Goa, India, and settled in Twickenham and then East Sheen, London.

Vaz's father worked in the airline industry, while her mother worked two jobs as a teacher and in Marks & Spencer. Her father committed suicide when she was 16.[3] Vaz attended Twickenham County Grammar School[2] before going on to Bedford College, University of London where she completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Biochemistry in 1978.[4]

In 1984 she qualified as a solicitor[2] and subsequently worked as a lawyer in local government in London.[2] She set up her own law firm, Townsend Vaz Solicitors,[2] and has sat as a Deputy District Judge in the County Court on the Midland and Oxford Circuit.

In 2001 Vaz joined the Government Legal Service, and worked at the Treasury Solicitors Department and the Ministry of Justice.

Vaz also worked as a presenter and interviewer for the BBC TV programme Network East in 1987.[2]

Political career[edit]

Vaz was a councillor in the London Borough of Ealing from 1986 to 1990, and the council's Deputy Leader from 1988 to 1989. She stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate in the constituency of Twickenham in the 1987 general election, and in the 1999 European elections in the East Midlands. She was elected in the 2010 general election, securing the Walsall South seat with a reduced Labour majority of 1,755 (8.2% swing to the Conservative Party).

In June 2010 she was selected as a Labour member of the Health Select Committee.[5] She is also Vice Chairwoman of the Labour Parliamentary Party, having been elected by fellow Labour MPs.

Personal and family life[edit]

Vaz is married to Paul Townsend.[2] The couple have one teenage daughter.[2] Her hobbies include music and gardening.[2] Her younger brother Keith Vaz is also a Labour MP, while her sister Penny is a lawyer.[3] Her late mother Merlyn Vaz was formerly a Labour councillor in Leicester.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "About Valerie". Retrieved 24 May 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Laville, Sandra (2 January 2013). "Keith Vaz on Jacintha Saldanha's children: This could be me 42 years ago'". The Guardian. 
  4. ^ "Election highs for Royal Holloway alumni". Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Jim Pickard (24 June 2010). "Westminster select committees: Labour & Tory membership". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Tim Walker (22 April 2010). "General Election 2010: Joanne Cash says every dog has its day". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 

External links[edit]