Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Chris Huhne takes his opponents' points with surprising nonchalance

Share
Related Topics

That was a week the Libs perfected their decapitation strategy. To kill a political party by taking its head off. They never managed it against the Tories but it's a fine exit strategy for themselves.

Last week it was David Laws convicted by his peers of a long- term systematic financial fraud. This week we see Chris Huhne's upper level lolling about and hanging on by a jugular vein. The transcript of a tape has been released which makes him look as low and manipulative as cynics think politicians naturally are.

Nick Clegg, the most hated politician in Britain since – I don't know – Oswald Mosley joined the bloody brotherhood with his plans for Lords reforms.

The reaction to his statement was mixed. Contempt, amused contempt, mockery mixed with sarcasm and incredulity. And that was from his colleagues, his allies, his partners.

Bernard Jenkin called it "the same tatty roadshow that brought us the AV campaign". Edward Leigh asked "how many other countries elect their representatives for 15 years? And he's going to have to do better than Papua New Guinea this time". Jesse Norman said the Lords needed "reform not abolition" – on and on it went.

David Cameron had come in to sit with Clegg, and Clegg stayed to sit with Huhne.

Huhne is German for chicken, and he's playing that dangerous game with his ex-wife. Accused by her of lying, he's driving straight at her oncoming car and accelerating. It looks like she's swerved off the road.

He was confident enough to make a joke about it during questioning – Barry Gardiner said he was glad Huhne rather than Vince Cable was in the driving seat on the Fourth Carbon Budget. Huhne: "I take the Rt Hon gent's points."

Think of the qualities you need to carry that off. Your abandoned wife is attacking you in public. She's accusing you of a criminal act. A secret tape has been released to the media. And you have to stand up in the House to face the mob.

Meg Hillier's speech was evidently written by someone with a sense of humour. She played the same game as the policeman played in the de Menezes inquest, trying to get song titles into his evidence. Her speech was littered with innuendo, from "pick up on a point" to "hasty" and "no rush there" to "can he be sure he's got the support of the PM".

None of it rattled the minister. As the House slowly became aware of Huhne's composure, it fell to Geraint Davis to ask whether he wanted to raise the speed limit, "as the transport secretary says he wants – and presumably his wife does too".

That didn't do the trick either. He'll be there until the moment – when or if – the police take him away.

twitter.com/simonsketch

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Etch, a Sketch

Jane Merrick
 

Something wrong with the Conservative Party’s game plan

John Rentoul
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing