Valerie Vaz

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Valerie Vaz
MP
Valerie Vaz MP - official photo 2017.jpg
Official Parliamentary portrait, June 2017
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Assumed office
6 October 2016
Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Shadowing David Lidington
Andrea Leadsom
Preceded by Paul Flynn
Member of Parliament
for Walsall South
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Bruce George
Majority 8,892 (20.2%)
Personal details
Born Valerie Carol Marian Vaz
(1954-12-07) 7 December 1954 (age 62)
Aden Colony (now Yemen)
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Paul Townsend
Relations Keith Vaz (brother)
Children 1 daughter
Website Official website

Valerie Carol Marian Vaz[2] (born 7 December 1954) is a British politician and solicitor. A member of the Labour Party, she has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Walsall South since the 2010 general election. She currently serves in the shadow cabinet as the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons.

Background[edit]

Vaz was born in Aden, Yemen. Her family originates from Goa, India, and settled in Twickenham and then East Sheen, London.[3] Vaz is a distant relative of Saint Joseph Vaz, a 17th-century missionary.

Her father worked in the airline industry, while her mother worked two jobs, as a teacher and for Marks & Spencer. Her father committed suicide when she was 16.[4] Vaz attended Twickenham County Grammar School[3] before going on to Bedford College, University of London where she completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Biochemistry in 1978.[5]

In 1984 she qualified as a solicitor[3] and subsequently worked on legal issues for local government in London. She set up her own law firm, Townsend Vaz Solicitors,[3] and has sat as a Deputy District Judge in the County Court on the Midland and Oxford Circuit.

In 2001, she joined the Government Legal Service, and worked at the Treasury Solicitors Department and the Ministry of Justice. She worked as a presenter and interviewer for the BBC TV programme Network East in 1987.[3]

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 a contender to be selected as the Labour candidate in the 2000 West Bromwich West by-election, however she failed in her attempt.[6] 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.[7] She was also Vice Chairwoman of the Labour Parliamentary Party, having been elected by fellow Labour MPs.

In the 2015 general election, she was re-elected as the member of parliament for Walsall South, with an increased majority of 6,007 (5% swing to the Labour Party). In the 2015-2017 parliament, she served on the Science and Technology Committee followed by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. In October 2016 she was appointed to Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet as the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons[8].

In the 2017 general election she was elected for a third time at Walsall South, with an increased majority of 8,892.

Personal and family life[edit]

Vaz is married to Paul Townsend.[3] The couple have one daughter.[3] Her hobbies include music and gardening.[3] Her younger brother Keith Vaz is also a Labour MP, while her sister Penny is a lawyer.[4] Her late mother Merlyn Vaz was formerly a Labour councillor in Leicester.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lee, Ceridwen (27 August 2015). "Fall in number of Catholic MPs in the House of Commons ahead of landmark debate on assisted dying". The Tablet. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Profile: Valerie Carol Marian Vaz". ukwhoswho.com. UK Who's Who. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Valerie". valerievazmp.co.uk. Valerie Vaz MP. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Laville, Sandra (2 January 2013). "Keith Vaz on Jacintha Saldanha's children: This could be me 42 years ago'". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Election highs for Royal Holloway alumni". www.rhul.ac.uk. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Andy, McSmith (18 September 2000). "Labour bristles over favourite to follow Betty". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  7. ^ Pickard, Jim (24 June 2010). "Westminster select committees: Labour & Tory membership". Financial Times. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  8. ^ "Valerie Vaz MP". parliament.uk. UK Parliament. Retrieved 2 July 2017. 
  9. ^ Walker, Tim (22 April 2010). "General Election 2010: Joanne Cash says every dog has its day". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Bruce George
Member of Parliament
for Walsall South

2010–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Flynn
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
2016–present
Incumbent