Farce as Huhne's ex-wife offered job at his office

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Vicky Pryce, one of the country's top economists, quit her job as a government adviser because of the conflict of interest created when her husband, Chris Huhne, joined the Cabinet as Climate Change Secretary.

At the same time, however, the Liberal Democrat MP was harbouring a conflict of interest of his own: a relationship with his 44-year-old former aide, Carina Trimingham. When this relationship became public, Mr Huhne ended his 26-year marriage, and set up home with Ms Trimingham.

So Ms Pryce was somewhat bemused to receive a call from a headhunter touting the post of chief economist and director of analysis, with a salary of £100,000, at her former husband's department.

Ms Pryce, 57, has turned down the job, for which she was told she had been "highly recommended". It is thought that, as she has always worked under her maiden name, the headhunter was unaware of her connection to her would-be new boss.

Mr Huhne, 56, first met Ms Trimingham when she worked as a press officer for him during his campaign for the Liberal Democrat leadership in 2007, which he narrowly lost to Nick Clegg.

Ms Trimingham had previously worked in PR for the BBC music show Top of The Pops and a body of commercial radio stations. She separated from her previous partner, a woman, in 2009.