A spokesman for Vaz, who is a prominent media commentator, said there was no conspiracy behind the deletion of his Twitter account. The MP was away in India while followers hypothesised about his whereabouts and wellbeing.
“The account is being refurbished with new pictures and a profile for example, but we’ve created a new account in the meantime, and we’re trying to get Twitter to verify that,” the spokesman said. The new account has tweeted several times this morning.
The home affairs select committee chair, who usually tweets half a dozen times a day, said a refreshed version of his old Twitter account would return shortly. “All is well. There will be slightly more grey hair on the photograph and a little change to the words. I’m back in England to sort everything out,” he told MailOnline.
The MP, who is of Goan origin, visited the state in southern India this week to meet its chief minister, Laxmikant Parsekar, to discuss tourism and the UK-India Year of Culture in 2017.
This disappearance of the social media accounts on Wednesday afternoon led commentators to speculate whether a weekend newspaper was planning a story about Vaz. Others wondered if the MP had been driven off the site by trolling. But an aide denied Vaz had chosen to change his Twitter handle because of problems with abuse.
The MP has been the target of online critics since last year when it was reported that he had defended Greville Janner in 1991 against allegations of child sex abuse, saying the peer had been subject to a “wicked attack” and was a “great survivor”.
When allegations arose again last year prosecutors initially said Lord Janner, a former Labour MP, should not stand trial because he had dementia, but later decided a trial of the facts should be held. The 87-year-old died in early December.
This article was written by Jessica Elgot, for theguardian.com on Thursday 7th January 2016 11.53 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010