London: Valerie Vaz, sister of Britain's longest serving Indian-origin Labour lawmaker Keith Vaz, has been appointed the new Shadow leader of the House by the Labour Party.
The 61-year-old lawmaker is the second Indian-origin lawmaker to join Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's newly-reshuffled shadow cabinet after Baroness Shami Chakrabarti was appointed the Shadow attorney-general earlier this week.
Corbyn's frontline team now has 16 women and 14 men, seen as a boost for gender equality.
Goan-origin lawyer Vaz has been a lawmaker for Walsall South since the 2010 general election.
She had backed Andy Burnham during Labour's leadership election last year but has since been seen as a Corbyn supporter.
She is also Vice Chairwoman of the Labour Parliamentary Party, having been elected by fellow Labour lawmakers.
Vaz was born in Aden, to parents Merlyn and Tony Vaz who originated from Goa. She attended Cambridge University to undertake research.
She qualified as a solicitor in 1984. She has worked as a lawyer in local government in London Boroughs.
She set up a community law firm Townsend Vaz and sat as a Deputy District Judge.
In 2001 she joined the Government Legal Service and has worked at the Treasury Solicitors Department and the Ministry of Justice.
From 1986-1990 Valerie was a Councillor in the London Borough of Ealing and was Deputy Leader in 1988-1989 and was also a presenter for the BBC in 1987.