‘British press free to report what they want’: Clegg refuses to condemn newspapers that exposed Chris Huhne

Deputy Prime Minister refuses to be drawn into disgraced MP Chris
Huhne’s tussle with Murdoch

The Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader has defended the British press following Chris Huhne’s claims that he was conspired against by News International after speaking out about phone hacking in 2009.

Writing in The Guardian, Mr Hunhe claimed that News International and The Sunday Times “groomed” his ex-wife Vicky Pryce into telling them about the speeding points she had taken on his behalf. Mr Huhne said the paper’s actions were “a very clear payback for the fact that I... wasn't able to resist going public on how the police should reopen the investigation into voicemail hacking and the Murdoch press.”

At his monthly Whitehall news conference Mr Clegg, Mr Huhne’s former boss, told reporters: "Chris has to speak for himself."

He said: "All I can tell you is that is his opinion. Is it exactly my opinion? No it isn't because, guess what, we're different people. I'm not Chris's keeper."

He added: "Newspapers play an incredibly important role of keeping people in positions of authority and power on their toes, uncovering wrongdoing where that takes place, uncovering the truth where it is not revealed.”

Mr Clegg then praised “the great tradition of British journalism”, saying that the “rigorous, muscular” tone of UK reporting was a model emulated elsewhere in the world.

Pressed on whether the British press had been “fair” to Mr Huhne, the Liberal Democrat leader replied: “You are free to report on whatever you want.

Mr Huhne, the former Energy Minister, was the subject of a string of stories by newspapers, including the Murdoch-owned The Sunday Times and The News of the World, which revealed he had had an extramarital affair, and later that he had asked his then wife Vicky Pryce to take his speeding points to avoid losing his licence.

In March 2013 the Deputy Prime Minister called Huhne “a friend” and a “close colleague”, saying he planned to keep in touch with him after he had served his eight month sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea