Eldest daughter of Vicky Pryce 'urged mum not to take speeding points for Chris Huhne'


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The Independent Online

The tearful eldest daughter of Vicky Pryce said today that she had urged her mother not to take speeding points for her husband, the former cabinet minister Chris Huhne, despite him constantly badgering her to do so, a court heard.

Georgia Beesley, 37, a management consultant, said that she recalled her mother telling her that Huhne had been “insistent” that she took the points so he could continue driving while campaigning for the Westminster seat of Eastleigh.

Ms Beesley said that her mother had been “angry and upset” but had eventually agreed to accept the points on behalf of Huhne, who last week pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice over the 2003 speeding offence.  He has resigned as MP and is expected to face a prison sentence.

“He was very insistent that she took the points,” Mrs Beesley told Southwark Crown Court. “He didn’t want to lose his licence, he was standing for election and had to travel regularly to Eastleigh.

“And he would say to her that if she didn’t take them he would not be able to drive, that he would lose his licence, and that it would be her fault if he didn’t get elected.”

She added: “Anger and upset were her emotions at the time.

“I don’t remember if she asked for advice but I definitely told her she shouldn’t take the points.”

Ms Beesley said that Huhne, 58, was banned soon afterwards anyway after he was caught speaking on his mobile phone and reached 12 penalty points and an automatic ban.

Ms Pryce, 60, was then forced to drive him around after the ban and there was “quite a bit of resentment”, the jury of eight women and four men heard.

During cross-examination, Ms Beesley accepted that she had declined to give police a statement about what she knew, when the point-swap story first came to light and her mother was questioned.

She said that when she urged her mother not to take the points, she had not appreciated “the pressures somebody could be under in a marriage. I didn’t appreciate what it would be like to live with someone constantly badgering you to do something you know is wrong and not thinking you have a choice.”

Ms Beesley is the eldest of two daughters from Ms Pryce’s first marriage. During Ms Pryce’s 26-year marriage with Mr Huhne, they had another three children.

Ms Pryce, of Clapham, south London, accepts taking the penalty points but denies perverting the course of justice, claiming the defence of “marital coercion”.

The case continues.