Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, was hit by fresh controversy last night after his estranged wife claimed that he asked someone to accept driving licence penalty points on his behalf.
Vicky Pryce, a leading economist who separated from Mr Huhne last year, told two newspapers that he had persuaded someone close to him to take the points for a speeding offence.
The alleged offence is believed to date back to 2003, when he was an MEP and before he became Lib Dem MP for Eastleigh in 2005.
Persuading someone else to take penalty points is against the law, although research shows that every year hundreds of thousands of motorists swap points with friends to escape a driving ban.
Ms Pryce told the Mail on Sunday: "I am aware that he pressurised people to take his driving licence penalty points." And asked by The Sunday Times whether the MP had asked someone to take the blame, she said: "Yes, he did. But, look, there is such huge pressure on politicians to be everywhere at once, especially early in their career, so that they are visible - huge pressure - and he does drive a bit like a maniac."
Mr Huhne failed to respond to requests for a comment last night. But a source close to him said he would not be resigning.
The MP, 56, left his wife after 26 years of marriage after it emerged he was having an affair with his former press officer, Carina Trimingham.
Ms Pryce is understood to be writing a 'tell-all' book about her relationship with Mr Huhne.Reuse content