Note to self, Mr Huhne, when involving ones wife in a minor criminal cover-up, greater care should be taken not to leave her afterwards.
Having given up his cabinet post, and resigned as MP for
Eastleigh, Chris Huhne’s diary must be about as empty as his laundry basket, now the contents have received a thorough airing in court. With hindsight, the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change may wish he had just taken the penalty points himself, when caught speeding on the M11 back in 2003. Such was the crowded nature of his driving licence at the time, however, that it would likely have meant him losing it. Achieving his parliamentary ambitions may have proved improbable from the back of a taxpayer funded taxi, granted, but swapping Her Majesty’s Government for staying at Her Majesty’s pleasure would kick his goal of being Lib Dem party leader into considerably longer grass.
Having changed his plea to guilty, for perverting the course of justice, Mr Huhne has now popped home to pack his pyjamas. He will be sentenced at a later date, the judge having told him to “have no illusions” regarding what awaits him. His ex-wife, meanwhile, former joint head of the UK Government Economic Service, Vicky Pryce, is pleading not guilty to a similar charge, citing marital coercion. The couple divorced in January 2011, when details came to light of an affair between Chris Huhne and PR adviser Carina Trimingham, his current partner.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court has heard recorded phone conversations between the former couple, secretly set up with the able assistance of Sunday Times Political Editor Isabel Oakeshott. The expletive ridden excerpts appear to chart Ms Pryce’s attempts to entice her ex-husband into admitting to their driving deception, albeit with limited success.
Whatever the outcome in court, they will be not be the first couple to have played pass the penalty points, nor the last to break up due to a husband’s unreliable underpants. But the fact that the former Secretary of State apparently got right through Westminster School and Oxford University without learning the phrase; “hell hath no furry like a woman scorned”, may be as big a mystery as how he thought he could possibly get away with it all.
The case continues, his political career may not.