4 Feb 2013

Chris Huhne pleads guilty and resigns as MP

Chris Huhne resigns as MP after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice over claims his ex-wife took his speeding points. Angry texts from his son are revealed in court for the first time.

Before Monday’s appearance at Southwark Crown Court for the first day of his trial, Chris Huhne, 58, had vigorously denied the allegations and just last week pleaded not guilty in court.

Vicky Pryce pleads not guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice on the grounds of marital coercion. She is accused of falsely taking speeding points for her ex-husband.

The speeding offence is alleged to have taken place in 2003 when the millionaire Liberal Democrat MP was driving home from Stansted Airport.

Text messages between Mr Huhne and his son were put to the judge as part of his dismissal application (see full transcript below). They revealed the fractured relationship between the pair, as Peter, then 18, rejected his father’s attempts to communicate. At one point the teenager also urged his father to tell the truth about the speeding fine.

The former energy secretary was told by Judge Nigel Sweeney that he was likely to face a term in jail.

Speaking to reporters outside court, Mr Huhne said he would be standing down from his parliamentary seat in Eastleigh in southern England. “Having taken responsibility for something which happened 10 years ago the only proper course of action for me is now to resign my Eastleigh seat in parliament,” he said.

Carina Trimingham, an aide whom Mr Huhne admitted having an affair with in 2010, was in the public gallery as he pleaded guilty to the perverting the course of justice charge. Ms Pryce, a Greek-born economist, split up with her husband in 2010 after 26 years, following Mr Huhne’s admission of his affair.

Mr Huhne narrowly lost to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in a 2007 election to lead the party. Last month, Mr Clegg said that he would like to see Mr Huhne return to the “top table” of British politics, were he cleared of the charges.

Mr Huhne resigned from his cabinet post in February 2012 when he was charged, but he remains a member of parliament. After the allegations emerged, Downing Street said the coalition minister had Mr Cameron’s “full confidence”.

Text exchanges between Chris Huhne and his son, Peter

June 21
Peter Huhne: Just tried you, ring back within five.
Later: Pick up, pick up your f****** phone.
PH: I don’t want to speak to you, you disgust me.
Chris Huhne: Hope you are okay, I’m visiting Gran on Saturday, would you like to come?
PH: No I will see her without you.

June 28
CH: Peter, just to say, I’m thinking of you and I love you very much. It would be great to talk to you, Dad.
PH: F*** off.

July 22
Huhne had tried to write a letter to his son, against sparking a negative reaction:
PH: So nice to see our entire relationship reduced to lies and pleasantries in that letter. Do you take me for an idiot? The fact you said your parents were happier as a result of their divorce was disgusting…
You are the most ghastly man I have ever known. Does it give you pleasure that you have lost most of your friends?

July 30
CH: I understand that I have really offended you but I hope that the passage of time will provide some perspective… I love you and I will be there to support you if you ever need it.
PH: You are right – the perspective involves me getting angrier with every day that goes by. You just don’t get it.

December 25

CH: Happy Christmas. Love you, Dad.
PH: Well I hate you, so f*** off.

December 28
CH: Tiger, Have you had any news from St Peter’s yet? Love Dad
No answer
CH: Congratulations, I’m really proud of you, Dad.
No answer
CH: Well I’m proud and I love you, Dad.
PH: Leave me alone, you have no place in my life and no right to be proud. It’s irritating that you don’t seem to take the point. You are such an autistic piece of shit. Don’t contact me again, you make me feel sick.

January 16
CH: I hope you are okay, just to let you know I’m thinking of you lots and love you.
PH: You couldn’t think about anyone but yourself. You are a pathetic loser and a joke. Have fun with your….

February 27
CH: Hope you are okay. Saw a Beckett reference and thought of you in Godot, MI6 used to be full of people who did languages at Oxford. Love you.

May 21
CH: I do hope your exams are going okay, despite everything over the last few weeks. Thinking of you, love you, Dad. PS It’s grandad’s birthday today.
PH: Don’t text me you fat piece of shit.

After allegations had emerged, shortly before Mr Huhne was due to be interviewed by police, the following text conversation took place:
PH: We all know that you were driving and you put pressure on mum. Accept it or face the consequences. You’ve told me that was the case. Or will this be another lie?
CH: I have no intention of sending Mum to Holloway Prison for three months. Dad.
PH: Are you going to accept your responsibility or do I have to contact the police and tell them what you told me?
CH: Discuss it with Mum.
PH: It’s not about her its (sic) about your accepting responsibility to me.
CH: Happy to talk about it with you. Dad.