Keith Vaz MP, Britain’s senior most Asian parliamentarian, said Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is one of the most genuine, straight forward, plain speaking people” he has come across in parliament
Vaz, the former minister and a loyal Blairite, supported Corbyn’s rival Yvette Cooper in the leadership campaign. In an interview with ‘Total Politics’ the veteran Labour politician said that he does not fear “the annihilation of the Labour party” under Corbyn.
He said he was “utterly shocked” at the “appalling” criticisms of the leadership hopeful over his alleged association with known Holocaust deniers or racists.
Vaz admitted that he did not see the Corbyn phenomenon coming, though he is happy to put forward his view of its origin.
“This is becoming the Americanisation of British politics,” he told Total Politics. “This is what we’re seeing. Nobody wants to back the insider; they always want to back the person who is running against the establishment. I think that is what Jeremy has done.” .
Vaz supported Prime Minister David Cameron’s policy on refugees. The prime minister is calling for the refugee crisis to be dealt with at source by working with authorities in countries such as Afghanistan, Eretria, Somalia and Nigeria.
The EU has “totally failed” to develop a policy to help countries, like those in North Africa, deal with internal problems prompting the mass exodus’, Vaz said. “We are one of the richest groups of nations… in the world, so much money. Why are we not spending it on these countries? Why are we not helping Libya? Ninety two percent of the people who cross the Mediterranean come from Libya.”
He adds: “You can put in place a tough policy as far as Calais is concerned, but at the same time if you don’t stop people leaving North Africa it is a waste of time because they have to go somewhere.”
It is for this reason why he says he is “not in favour of bombing in Syria”, as the Government warms up its arguments for conducting airstrikes against Isil targets in the country.
“I would have probably gone along with it in the past, as I was in favour of the situation in Iraq. [But] when you see the consequences, they are frightening, they are terrifying. You can’t complain about mass migration when we are bombing these countries,” he claims.
Heightening his attack on the EU, Vaz argues that the institution’s failure to act earlier on the developing migrant crisis has cost many lives.
“We could have dealt with this; so many people could still be alive today if the EU had made a decision on this a year ago. People have actually died because the EU has been failing… it is terrible. People traffickers have made billions because of this. It is the classic example of failure and that is why it needs to be reformed, fundamentally,” he says.