Exclusive: Chris Huhne, who has been handed an eight month prison sentence, tells Channel 4 News he "lied and lied again" and that he deeply regrets asking his ex-wife to take his driving points.

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In his first TV interview, recorded shortly before he was sentenced to eight months in prison, the former energy minister said he was deeply sorry for ever asking his ex-wife Vicky Pryce for taking his driving points.

Both were found guilty of perverting the course of justice, although Pryce pleaded not guilty.

Mr Huhne told Channel 4 News he "lied and lied again" and apologised to his constituents in Eastleigh.

You should accept responsibility for what you do, it was a very stupid thing to do. Chris Huhne

In the interview, with Political Editor Gary Gibbon, he said: "Well I suppose the most important message I wanted to get across is really to say sorry to my family, friends, colleagues and constituents. Very clearly I should not have swapped points with my ex-wife.

"You know, you should accept responsibility for what you do, it was a very stupid thing to do and I very much regret doing it; I am very sorry that I did do it. And that of course is the grounds of this particular offence.

"But there is also a lot of hurt that I inflicted on my family and my ex-wife, which explains some of the behaviour that has gone on since, and I'm very sorry for that as well."

Huhne also said that what he believed was a relatively minor offence had spiralled into a media frenzy, costing the taxpayer around £150,000.

"It seems crazy that what is on the face of it, without realising the full legal consquences, a fairly trivial issue of exchanging speeding points with your wife can spin into this massive, devastating set of consequences for family, for career and for everything you really care about," he said.

Consequences

He also said he did not think Vicky Pryce understood the consequences of exposing the cover-up and the impact it would have on both them and their family.

He said: "Well, I certainly lied and lied again, and part of it was about saving my career but it was also partly to try and avoid the consequences for my family.

"And that was the key point: I think I understood after a while what was likely to happen. And I don't think my ex-wife did for example, and I don't think there was a full understanding of the effect all this was likely to have on the family, not just in terms of my career and potentially the career of my ex-wife as well, but also on any money that might have been put aside for the kids to get them on the housing ladder or whatever it happens to be."

Huhne was referring to details of the family fallout after he left his wife. These include accusations from Pryce that Huhne had wanted her to have an abortion and the publication of angry emails from Mr Huhne's son.

Break up

Mr Huhne told Channel 4 News: "I certainly understand the hurt that attached to the way in which our relationship broke up. I mean, I think that that was awful.

"I think that being put under surveillance by the News of the World for a substantial amount of time, for her suddenly to be confronted by the fact that I was having an affair with somebody else- and that inevitably having to happen rather quickly, precisely because otherwise it would have been known about through the newspapers... all of that was deeply shocking for somebody who's a deeply private person and that, I think, explains a lot of what's gone on."

Despite once being tipped as a future leader of the Liberal Democrats, Mr Huhne said he believed his political career is now finished.

"I think my political career is very clearly over but I think that I have other things to offer, doing other things, and I will," he said.

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