And he has spent much of his 26 years in the corridors of power mired in near-scandals, actual scandals, watchdog scrutinies, leaks, accusations, investigations, complaints and a suspension.
Vaz has glided through it all in his serene, elaborately polite way.
He did well at Latymer School, Hammersmith, and took a first-class degree in law at Cambridge University.
In 1982, he joined the Labour Party and became a lawyer, working first for Richmond, then Islington borough councils.
For he is one of the UK’s most glamorous and influential British Asians, and the longest-serving in Parliament.
So was it just a publicity stunt from a man who loves to be in the public eye?
A report into the affair criticised Vaz for “deliberate collusion” with his wife in concealing facts about payments.
Another scandal broke a year later, when Vaz was accused of making false allegations about a retired policewoman who, he said, had upset his elderly mother in a phone call.
In 2001, he was accused of helping to process the British passport application of one of the Hinduja brothers, whose foundation had paid money into a company run by Vaz’s wife.
After Vaz admitted he had “made representations” on behalf of the Hindujas and other British Asians, he left his post as minister for Europe on “health grounds”.