The wife of shamed MP Keith Vaz has said she will eventually forgive him for cheating on her with rent boys – although she admitted she felt like smashing crockery over his head.
Maria Fernandes said she had decided to give the high-profile former minister a second chance, but warned he needs to change or “I’ll sling him out”.
Mr Vaz, 59, who has two children with Ms Fernandes, quit as chairman of the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Committee after becoming embroiled in the scandal.
Ms Fernandes said the revelation her husband of 23 years paid two male prostitutes for sex had come “out of the blue” and was a “complete shock”.
She said the Leicester East MP begged for forgiveness, saying he was “very sorry” and promising it would “never happen again” after he broke the news to her before the scandal was reported in the press.
“It was like an out-of-body experience, it was not real. There was a lot of things over the years, but this had not been one,” she said.
“It was a terrible shock and I am still processing it ... Keith is not a bad person, he’s just done a terrible thing. It’s absolutely terrible because it’s affected all of us, because it’s affected the kids.
“But he’s a good person, a good father, he’s been a good husband and nine-tenths of the time he’s got things right. This time he’s fallen... badly.”
Police have said they will “assess and identify what criminal offences – if any – may have been committed” in the allegations, first reported in the Sunday Mirror.
Mr Vaz had a conversation regarding cocaine with one of the male escorts in which the MP said he did not want to use the drug but indicated that he would pay for it for the other man at a later date, according to the Sunday Mirror.
Ms Fernandes, who was told about the situation on the Friday before the story broke, said she told the couple’s 19-year-old daughter about it but their 21-year-old son was in Vietnam and did not find out for a further 24 hours.
She said that over the next few days she experienced a range of emotions following her husband’s “betrayal”.
But she continued: “I’ve decided to forgive him. That’s different to forgiving him right now. If I don’t forgive him eventually, it is going to tear me up. It’s going to destroy me and I don’t want that. I don’t like that feeling of anger and bitterness.
“Although I’m a lapsed Christian, there is still a Christian part of me that talks about forgiveness because you let go if you forgive.”