Vicky Pryce tells court she 'wished she could turn back clock' after Chris Huhne penalty points saga became headline news

 

The ex-wife of disgraced politician Chris Huhne said today that she wished she could have turned the clock back after her account of the penalty points saga became headline news.

Vicky Pryce said that she was “shocked and horrified” when she saw the story in the Sunday Times about the former Energy Secretary passing her his speeding points even though she had been the source of the story which first appeared in May 2011.

"I was a bit shocked and horrified and of course started worrying very significantly about the whole process that led to this article,” she told a jury at Southwark Crown Court. "So in many ways I just wanted to turn the clock back and not have anything to do with it."

Ms Pryce, 60, said that she had not expected the article to have appeared in that form after months of telephone calls, emails and lunch meetings with the political editor of the newspaper, Isabel Oakeshott. She added: "I was quite shocked about the way that the information had come out and I was beginning to feel that actually I had been perhaps manipulated in a way and that things had probably been pushed too far."

Andrew Edis, QC, for the prosecution said: “It was a six-month press campaign designed to ruin him. You had been striking from behind a safe wall so you couldn’t be harmed, that’s true isn’t it?”

Ms Pryce replied: “That’s not true.”

Huhne on Monday pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice signalling the end of his political career – a year after he stepped down from the Cabinet to fight the charges. His former wife accepts she took the points but said she was bullied into signing the form that admitted that she was the driver after her husband called her down to the hallway where he stood with a pen in his hand.

Under cross-examination, Ms Pryce accepted that she had not told police in six interviews over two days about the incident with her husband in the hallway at their Clapham home.

Andrew Edis, QC, counsel for the prosecution, said that she had only raised the issue at the trial so she could claim the defence of “marital coercion”. The defence requires the husband to be present at the time of the crime, he said.

Ms Pryce said: “In fact, it’s probably one of my strongest memories of this whole sad affair, him standing at the hallway table, lots of papers around and the form and being made to sign. I’m afraid it’s absolutely true.”

The court hear that Sir John Scarlett, the former head of MI6, had sent her a letter to her defence team saying that she was a person of integrity. “In our personal contact, I have found her to be exceptionally well informed and of good judgement. I regard her as a person of clear integrity in whom I have confidence,” according to his letter read out to the court.

Ms Pryce, who denies perverting the course of justice, insisted that her family came first despite the firestorm that followed the initial publication of the story but said that she felt “quite ashamed and upset” after the story emerged.

"2010 was a very difficult circumstance when the family had really been torn apart and where the person they were relying on, who was me, was actually very fragile.

"I am not proud of what happened. Now of course I would never ever have gone down that road.”

The case continues.

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

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test