I have confidence in Chris Huhne, says David Cameron
Monday 23 May 2011
David Cameron said today he had confidence in beleaguered Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, who is fighting claims he persuaded his ex-wife to accept speeding penalty points on his behalf.
Challenged that he seemed to be leaving the Liberal Democrat minister to the wolves, the Prime Minister told ITV1's Daybreak: "Not at all. Everyone in my Cabinet has my confidence, otherwise they wouldn't be in my Cabinet.
"With the case of Chris Huhne, obviously he's denied these allegations, the police are investigating and that I think is the right way to handle this."
His comments came after Labour urged Mr Cameron yesterday to set up a Whitehall inquiry to establish the truth of the claims surrounding the eight-year-old speeding offence.
Mr Huhne is due to be interviewed this week by Essex Police over the allegations, which first surfaced two weeks ago when his ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, told The Sunday Times he had asked someone else to take the penalty points. Subsequent press reports said that she was the person concerned.
Although Mr Huhne has denied the allegations - which date back to his days as an MEP - he has had to endure a steady stream of disclosures apparently supporting Ms Pryce's claims.
After The Mail on Sunday yesterday published details of Ms Pryce's driving licence showing she received three points for an offence on the date concerned, shadow Cabinet Office minister Tessa Jowell said Mr Cameron had to resolve the issue.
"He should be getting a proper investigation independently - Cabinet Office or wherever - to establish what the facts were and in the light of the facts decide the best course of action," she said.
A photograph of Ms Pryce's licence published by The Mail on Sunday shows a single, three-point fixed penalty offence for speeding on March 12 2003 - the date Mr Huhne's car is alleged to have been caught by a speed camera.
Mr Huhne has denied claims that he was driving and that Ms Pryce admitted the offence on his behalf as he faced a driving ban if he collected any more penalty points.
It is alleged that he was returning from Stansted Airport to his home in Clapham, south London, having flown in from Strasbourg where the European Parliament sits.
Ms Pryce's licence is marked with the court code 1629, which, the newspaper said, shows that the offence was dealt with by Southend Magistrates' Court in Essex which covers the road network between Stansted and London.
The licence does not show the time of day the offence occurred. However it is reported that Ms Pryce spent much of the day in central London - attending a conference in the morning and an event at the London School of Economics where she stayed for a dinner until after 10pm.
Last week the same newspaper, together with The Sunday Times, published details of what was said to be a taped telephone conversation between Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce - who divorced earlier this year after he left her for another woman - apparently discussing the case.
Mr Huhne was reportedly urging her not to talk to journalists about the allegations, saying that there was no evidence to support the story "unless you give it some legs by saying something".
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