Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce to be charged with perverting the course of justice

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has just announced that Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne and his former wife VIcky Pryce will be charged with perverting the course of justice.

They will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 16th February.

It is expected that Chris Huhne will now step down from the Cabinet.

Keir Starmer emphasised that Huhne and Pryce have the right to a fair trial and that nothing should be said or reported that could influence that.

He said:

All the available evidence, including the new material, has now been carefully considered by the CPS and we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce for perverting the course of justice.

The essence of the charges is that between March and May 2003, Mr Huhne, having allegedly committed a speeding offence, falsely informed the investigating authorities that Ms Pryce had been the driver of the vehicle in question, and she falsely accepted that she was the driver.

Accordingly, summonses against both Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce have been obtained from Westminster Magistrates Court and those summonses will now be served on them. They are due to appear in court on 16 February this year.

Can I remind all concerned that Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce now stand charged with criminal offences and that they each have a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice their trial.

His full statement can be found here.

We will bring you news of further developments as they come in.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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9 Comments

  • I’m pleased that the CPS has finally taken a decision. Huhne is entitled to a legal presumption of innocence. However, it would be inappropriate for someone accused of perverting the course of justice to remain as a minister responsible for law making (any more than a doctor charged with drug dealing should be allowed to remain in post writing prescriptions). He should resign immediately.

    In earlier statements he referred to an inquiry that had cleared him of these allegations. Then again he said a lot of things. In many ways he has been his own worst enemy and should probably have stepped down the moment the recorded conversation with his ex-wife was made public.

  • The prize for the most inappropriate comment so far must surely go to Chris Davies speaking on Radio 5 Live, who described the situation as “a Greek tragedy” …

  • I bet Eastleigh Conservatives are rubbing their hands with glee.

  • Andrew Suffield 3rd Feb '12 - 5:48pm

    I bet Eastleigh Conservatives are rubbing their hands with glee.

    Why? It’s years until the next campaign there. By that time, either he will be cleared so far in the past that nobody cares, or his successor will be firmly established.

  • Andrew Suffield

    On the first pointe you made- perhaps but mud sticks

    I do not get your second point, what successor? Surely there will be a by-election if he resigns the seat (although he is not obliged to if less than I year I think) and I cannot see any realistic chance of an LD win – second place may even be at risk

  • Elizabeth Patterson 4th Feb '12 - 10:27am

    I feel very sad about what was essentially a political assassination.

    First the News of the World snooping. Then a Labour MP going to the police. Then the Tory press and right wing commentators hoping he would go and “take his windmills with him”. All this precipitating a Robin Cook situation where it had to be make or break in an instant decision.
    There has been so much political spite in press comment and reaction. It goes without saying for the Daily Mail, but one could expect others to be more generous.
    I cannot read ex-hedgefunder Guido Fawkes’s gloating without recalling that this is from a man who, according to the Independent has himself had actual convictions for DRUNKEN driving.

    If every wife rushed to divorce and vengeful attacks on a straying husband there would be many fewer marriages around.. While fidelity is important in the child rearing years, it is another matter in an old and evolving marriage.

  • MacK (Not a Lib Dem) 4th Feb '12 - 11:27am

    Congratulations: a Liberal Democrat first — the first cabinet minister ever to have to resign from office because he has been charged with a criminal offence.

  • Elizabeth Patterson

    Please stop this whining of unfairness

    There is sufficient belief in the CPS that he broke the lawto charge him. This ‘points sharing’ is a growing problem and rightly should be prosecuted.

    If this had been a Labour or Tory politician I do not think you would be saying the same – I am sure if the papers would love to find a Labour shadow cabinet member doing the same thing (Tories have more chance of covering it up)

  • Richard Hill 5th Feb '12 - 11:09am

    I would have more sympathy if he did not already have so many points on his license that a few more would mean that he would be banned.

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