Did Keith Vaz breach codes of conduct to help a wealthy Indian businessman looking to move to the UK?
An Inquiry has been urged into immigration help that Leicester East MP and former chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) - Keith Vaz gave to a wealthy Indian businessman looking to move to the UK.
The parliamentary standards commissioner will be asked to consider whether Keith Vaz breached codes of conduct by intervening to help the Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi secure travel documents.
It has emerged Mr Vaz wrote to director-general of UK visas and immigration Sarah Rapson to ask if the tycoon's travel papers could be made available.
No one has responded from Mr Vaz's office on why he lobbied officials on Mr Modi's behalf.
Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen will now ask parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson to look at the matter.
Mr Bridgen said: “As part of his role as chair of the HASC, Mr Vaz is entrusted with scrutinising and holding immigration officials to account.
“By seeking to lobby the same officials on behalf of an individual who is not his constituent, there are questions as to whether Mr Vaz created a conflict of interest.”
Mr Vaz, who is seeking re-election as HASC chairman, has issued a statement on his website.
It does not refer to Mr Modi, but says: "In the past year, over 270 people living outside my constituency have contacted me in my then capacity as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
“A huge volume of cases have reached my office as a result of committee work, and there is a duty to deal with these cases in a courteous and helpful manner.”
Mr Vaz said 42 cases had been referred to other MPs, and 230 were taken up directly with the Home Office, either to the Passport Office or to Immigration and Visas in the past year.
He said: “The majority of these cases were following the passport crisis of last summer.
“I expected people to contact me about problems with the immigration system and other matters.
“I actively encouraged people to bring to my attention examples of delays, inefficiencies and problems with the immigration system.
“This is in the public interest if we are going to get a system that works.
“Last year, during the passport crisis, I publicly called for everyone with a passport issue to write to me.
“I then took up all the cases referred to me, copying the letters to the relevant MPs.
“Even after referral, many MPs asked me to continue to take on the cases.”