The Lawyer Inquiry: Keith Vaz

Keith Vaz MP was born in in South Yemen in 1956. He is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General and MP to Leicester East.

What was your first job?

Sales assistant, household goods, Dickens & Jones, aged 16.

What subject(s) did you fail at school?

All science subjects.

What was your first ever salary as a lawyer?

#4,000 pa.

What would you have done if you hadn't been a lawyer?

Been a priest.

What annoys you most about clients?

I love them all.

What was your most satisfying professional moment?

Defending a constituent who wanted to keep a pink elephant outside his shop.

What was your most embarrassing professional moment?

Forgetting to charge clients when I was briefly in the private sector.

What do you least like about being a lawyer?


And the best thing about being a lawyer?

Reading The Lawyer.

Who do you admire most, and why?

Nelson Mandela – he has shown no bitterness.

Which famous person or historical figure would be your ideal client, and why?

Nelson Mandela – he exudes truth.

What character do you most resemble in Ally McBeal and why?

The baby – because I'm so vulnerable.

What is your most annoying habit?

Being late.

What is your all-time favourite book?

Dag Hammarskiold's autobiography Markings.

And your favourite watering hole?

The Strangers Cafeteria, the House of Commons.

How do you relax?

By watching soap operas.

What is your most precious possession?

A wooden camel which I received when I was two years old.

What is your biggest fear?


Where would you most like to be right now?

Goa, India, on the beach.

In 10 years' time, where do you see yourself?

Hopefully still representing Leicester East.