Following allegations made in the Sunday Mirror that Keith Vaz had engaged in sexual activity with male prostitutes, one has to wonder how far in advance The Sunday Mirror had planned this sting operation on the now disgraced MP. Judging by internet blogs, rumours and Vaz’ history of deceitfulness, journalists in the media must have known for a while about the MPs sordid affairs. This leads to the question: how susceptible to blackmail are MPs.
Prostitutes, both male and female are often linked to criminal gangs that are able to blackmail their high profile customers. It would be naive to think that Keith Vaz is new to the sort of behaviour he has been accused of. Surely others were aware of it before this week’s leaks were published. What would Keith Vaz have done in order to stop this story from coming out? (no pun intended) How do we know that Keith Vaz – a married man and father of two children – has not been threatened in the past to the outing of his preference for male prostitutes? As chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee Vaz was a powerful man.
The Home Affairs Select Committee, its terms of reference are to examine “the expenditure, administration and policy of the Home Office and its associated public bodies”. On the outside it seems to be perfectly legitimate, Labour has the chairmanship of home affairs with chairs of the departmental select committees reflecting the party balance in the House of Commons. Therefore as you’d expect, Labour MPs are happy to scrutinise their conservative counterparts on issues which the committee regularly investigates, issues such as the work of the Home Secretary and the Work of the Home Office. This maintains that standards are kept. If, for example the current Home Secretary (Amber Rudd) did something dishonest in her duties, then the Labour chaired Home Affairs Select Committee would be quick to let the world know about her deceitfulness. After all, anything that makes the Tories look bad in the eyes of the public is a positive for Labour. Therefore, coming out of this hypothetical situation Amber Rudd will no doubt ensure that her behaviour in her high profile role will be clear of any wrongdoing. However, where the picture becomes murkier is when we look into what else the Home Affairs Select Committee ‘examines’: the supposedly ‘independent’ inquiry into child sexual abuse.
This may sound cynical but is it really in any party’s interests to out members of each party as child sexual abusers and paedophiles? If the problem is as widespread as feared then there is every chance that at least one high ranking official in the British parliament is a paedophile. History informs us of much. Does Cyril Smith ring a bell? Let’s go into another hypothetical situation, an MP gets elected to parliament for the first time (lets call him Bob) and they find out that a very high ranking member of the opposing party is a serial child sexual abuser (for want of a better name let’s call him Rodian). Should we take it for granted that Bob would go straight to the police and inform them that Rodian is a paedophile? Even if he did would Bob even be able to prove it? If Bob could prove it would the police even take any notice? And if Bob did want to out Rodian as a child abuser and if Bob could prove it and if the police did take notice of Bob’s revelations where would his political career go from there? Whether Rodian was or not, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that Rodian would be angry at Bob for outing him as a child abuser. As a high ranking official in parliament Rodian would have gained a significant amount of power and influence among his peers and underlings in Westminster. He would probably also have contacts within the police and the secret service. Rodian would firstly do everything to prove that Bob’s story was false (even if it wasn’t) and then he would do everything he could to put a halt to Bob’s political career. And if Rodian was outed in public to be a proven child sexual abuser would this open up a can of worms? Would more MPs be outed as paedophiles? Surely if there were many prominent paedophile MPs in parliament, be they members of any of the political parties they would combine their power in order to silence Bob? For the most part, MPs live a lavish lifestyle – they wouldn’t want an inquiry to put an end to this. Take, for example this real life situation where a Tory MP reported a senior Labour MP over child abuse which led to him being vilified in response. Would Bob be vilified for outing Rodian? Maybe. It’s hard to say.
Reverting back to Keith Vaz, as chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee one of his main responsibilities should have been to inquire into and put an end to child exploitation and child grooming in the UK. With the advantage of hindsight, however, would anyone truly believe that this was high on Vaz’ priority list? Vaz paid male prostitutes for sex, what are the chances those same male prostitutes were groomed as children, hooked to drugs and forced to become prostitutes to pay for their drug addiction? Of course, the allegations against Vaz have nothing to do with child abuse or even anything that is illegal, but as aforementioned, many prostitutes come from broken families and are forced to sell their bodies from a young age. Surely Vaz knew this? At best Vaz is a hypocrite. Are parliament hiding something in regards to the protection of children? Whilst he was Prime Minister David Cameron called the allegations of a VIP paedophile ring within Westminster a ‘witch hunt’ labelling VIP child abuse whistleblowers as ‘conspiracy theorists’. Clearly, investigating itself is not particularly high on the Westminster to do list.
On the other hand, let’s say that Vaz as chairman of the Select Committee did want to do all that he could to put an end to child sexual abuse in the UK. Sorry to put you in so many hypothetical situations but here is another one. Say Vaz starts preparing protocols for investigating paedophile rings across the country – he makes inquiries across England from Leeds to London – but then gets a phone call from a mysterious figure from GCHQ. In recent years, due to advancements in technology intelligence agencies have become extremely powerful -we all know about the Edward Snowden files- and GCHQ is no exception. It has been reported that GCHQ is ‘out of control’ in terms of the amount of spying it initiates in. Furthermore, recent laws have allowed GCHQ to be able to spy on MPs whilst files have proven that GCHQ have and continue to spy/monitor the actions of MPs.
Now, as terrifying as this may sound, how easy would it have been for someone who knew about Vaz and his tendencies for male prostitutes to blackmail him? There is no question that GCHQ would have known. The ‘out of control’ intelligence agency will know about all the sordid affairs of every high ranking public official in the United Kingdom. Therefore, even if Vaz did want to investigate child sexual abuse what if other officials didn’t want him to and thus threatened to leak his secrets to the press if he continued to dig? Would Vaz simply say no and allow his secrets to come out thus ending his political career whilst embarrassing himself and his family at the same time or would he begrudgingly accept and continue living a multi-millionaire lifestyle as a high ranking politician?
Clearly, it is difficult to tell exactly what happens within Westminster and within each MPs individual lives when you are on the outside looking in. But with each passing month the malevolent affairs of high ranking public officials are made public. Did Vaz simply get his comeuppance for being a disloyal husband and hypocrite or are there far more foul and terrifying occurrences in motion behind the scenes in Westminster.