The wife of MP Keith Vaz who was outed in a Sunday Mirror sting which alleged that he paid rent boys for sex and offered to cover the cost of cocaine has said she will eventually forgive him.
Married MP Mr Vaz, who held one of the most powerful backbench roles in Parliament, was outed by a Sunday Mirror sting last week.
The newspaper alleged that the Labour politician had sex with two male sex workers and offered to reimburse them if they bought cocaine – though he made clear he did not want any. He also asked them to bring poppers, which are legal.
Maria Fernandes, Mr Vaz’s wife, said she would give him a second chance, but that he needed to change his ways or “I’ll sling him out”.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, the mother of the former minister’s two children said the allegations came “out of the blue”.
“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 told the paper saying the MP for Leicester East had said he was “very sorry” and that it would “never happen again”.
“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.”
Going on, she said: “I would have liked to have taken all my crockery and broken it on his head.
“My immediate thought was to tell him to leave then have space to discuss things.”
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. So from that point of view, yes, I’ve made the decision but how it will be done … that’s all to happen in the future.”
While there was no suggestion in the story that Mr Vaz, who has since quit as the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, broke any law – but Tory opponent Andrew Bridgen submitted a letter to the Metropolitan Police insisting the MP should be investigated for “possible misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to supply controlled substances.”
A statement said: ““Following allegations in the Sunday Mirror on Sunday September 4 concerning a member of parliament, the Metropolitan Police Service can confirm a letter was received on Wednesday, September 7 requesting police consider the matter.
“The letter has been forwarded to the Met’s special inquiry team, part of specialist crime and operations, to assess and identify what criminal offences – if any – may have been committed.”
“At this stage a police investigation has not been launched.”
In his first full statement since the story broke, Mr Vaz said earlier this week: “It is in the best interest of the Home Affairs Select Committee that its important work can be conducted without any distractions whatsoever.
“I am genuinely sorry that recent events make it impossible for this to happen if I remain Chair. I have always been passionate about Select Committees, having served as either Chair or Member for half of my time in Parliament. The integrity of the Select Committee system matters to me. Those who hold others to account, must themselves be accountable
“I am immeasurably proud of the work the Committee has undertaken over the last 9 years, and I am privileged to have been the longest serving Chair of this Committee. This work has included the publication of 120 reports, hearing evidence from Ministers 113 times, and hearing from a total of 1379 witnesses. I am very pleased that so many Members of the Committee have gone onto high office and Ministerial positions.
“This work has included the publication of 120 reports, hearing evidence from Ministers 113 times, and hearing from a total of 1379 witnesses. I am very pleased that so many Members of the Committee have gone onto high office and Ministerial positions.
“I told the Committee today of my decision to stand aside immediately from Committee business, and my intention to resign. This is my decision, and mine alone, and my first consideration has been the effect of recent events on my family.
“I have recommended that in the interim, Tim Loughton MP, the senior Conservative member, should Chair proceedings.”
He added: “After speaking to the House authorities, I will formally tender my resignation to Mr Speaker so that it coincides with the timetable for the election of other Committee Chairs, such as the Brexit Committee, Culture, Media and Sport, and Science and Technology, so that the elections can take place together.
“I would like to thank my fellow members of the Committee, past and present, for their tremendous support. I would also like to thank the Clerks of the House for the amazing work they have done to strengthen the Select Committee system, we are not quite on par with the United States, but we are getting there. They are a vital body for the scrutiny of government. I would like to particularly thank my two Clerks, Tom Healey and Carol Oxborough.”
“I would also like to thank the Clerks of the House for the amazing work they have done to strengthen the Select Committee system, we are not quite on par with the United States, but we are getting there.
“They are a vital body for the scrutiny of government. I would like to particularly thank my two Clerks, Tom Healey and Carol Oxborough.”
Parts of the press have responded to the story with homophobia.
Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts branded Mr Vaz ‘camp’ and ‘flamboyant’ in an article which mocked him as “a cut-price Lady Bracknell”.
Meanwhile, the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes branded Mr Vaz a “nonce” in a cartoon which showed him watching “Strictly Come Noncing”.