Vicky Pryce 'let Chris Huhne stand as MP despite knowing that he was a criminal'

 

Chris Huhne's ex-wife let the former energy secretary stand as an MP for Eastleigh despite knowing that he was a criminal, a court heard today. 

Vicky Pryce, an economist from Clapham, south London, is undergoing a retrial on charges that she perverted the course of justice by agreeing to take on her husband’s speeding points in early 2003. She admits deceiving the police by taking the points but is arguing that she was forced to do so by her husband and is using the defence of marital coercion.

At the time the Liberal Democrat politician was hoping to be selected as an MP for the constituency of Eastleigh and asked his wife to take the blame for his speeding because he would have lost his driving licence. 

In cross examination on the witness stand this morning Pryce admitted that she knew what she doing was a potential criminal offence and that her husband was breaking the law by asking her to take on the penalty. Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC argued that the 60-year-old “inflicted a criminal on the voters of Eastleigh” to which Pryce replied: “On reflection yes.”

She added: “I didn't think it was the right thing for a politician to be doing. But given the circumstances in which it happened, I wasn't going to divorce him or going out to tell the world about this at that stage.”

This is the second time Pryce has had to take the witness stand in the past fortnight. Last week her first trial collapsed when the jury was dismissed after it failed to understand some of the most basic concepts of how a court works.

Much of the case centres around whether the successful economist really was forced to take on her husband's driving points, or whether she did so willingly. The court has heard how Pryce went to the press with the revelation that Mr Huhne had dodged the penalty points after their marriage broke down in the summer of 2010 following his affair with Carina Trimingham.

Earlier this month Mr Huhne pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and is awaiting sentencing.

Pryce's decision to go to the press eventually led to her being outed as a co-conspirator of the crime. Explaining why she took such a risky course of action, she described her state of mind following the collapse of her marriage as deeply vulnerable.

“I was not thinking straight,” she said. “There were times when I was very vulnerable, in fact I was practically suicidal.”

She added: “The can of worms opened in a way I didn't expect.”

Pryce denied that she had caused “an utter catastrophe” for her children by going to the press.

Mr Edis said it was “a calculated course of conduct that was disastrous for your family”.

Ms Pryce replied: “No, what was disastrous was the break-up, the children have remained very close to me.”

When Mr Justice Sweeney asked her why she had not gone to the police rather than the press, she said: “On reflection I may well have been better off doing precisely that, but at the time I didn't really want either of us to be prosecuted.”

The trial was adjourned until Friday or Monday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory