The wife of Indian-origin British MP Keith Vaz has said that she will forgive him for cheating on her, and admitted that the revelation that her husband had hired male prostitutes for sex had come “out of the blue” and was a “complete shock”.
Maria Fernandes, a successful lawyer and part-time judge, said that 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".
Vaz, 59, who has two children with Fernandes, quit as chairman of the influential House of Commons Home Affairs Committee after being embroiled in the scandal.
Fernandes told The Mail on Sunday the revelation that 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,” Fernandes was quoted as saying.
"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," she added.
Police have said that they will "assess and identify what criminal offences - if any - may have been committed" in the allegations, first reported in the Sunday Mirror.
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 newspaper.
Fernandes, who was told about the situation before the story broke, said she told the couple's 19-year-old daughter about it but their 21-year-old son was on holiday in Vietnam and did not find out for a further 24 hours.
Fernandes said their daughter was "very angry with her father, and I think she was angry for me" but she was also "worried about him".
She added that over the next few days she experienced a range of emotions following her husband's "betrayal".
"I would have liked to have taken all my crockery and broken it on his head," she said.
"My immediate thought was to tell him to leave then have space to discuss things, But I have 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," she noted, the The Mail on Sunday reported.
Fernandes said they would go to marriage guidance sessions and he would need a full health check after having unprotected sex.
She said she also feared for Vaz's mental health: "He wanted to kill himself twice - once as Europe minister (when he was caught up in a scandal over passports) - and again now. He just wanted to die."
She added: "We have been happily married for a long time, we have two beautiful children, and we have a good life together, and he has threatened that by his behaviour. And if he does that again, then I'll sling him out."
(With IANS inputs)