Feb 7 2013
Disgraced MP Chris Huhne pressured his former wife into taking his speeding points, presenting her with a "fait accompli", a court has heard.
Vicky Pryce revealed she took Huhne's points during a lunch with Sunday Times political editor Isabel Oakeshott, the journalist told Southwark Crown Court.
Pryce denies perverting the course of justice by taking the points in 2003. Huhne finally admitted the charge on Monday, ending his once-promising political career.
Giving evidence, Ms Oakeshott said she was first introduced to Pryce by her distant relative Lord Oakeshott at the Liberal Democrat party conference in 2010. The conference was just months after Huhne left Pryce for his PR adviser Carina Trimingham, ending their 26-year marriage.
Pryce and Ms Oakeshott later met for lunch on March 1, 2011, when Pryce revealed the points swapping to the journalist.
She said: "We talked a bit about the breakdown of her marriage and during that conversation she mentioned to me towards the end of the meal that she had taken speeding points on behalf of her husband, she had been pressured to do that. Obviously that's a very seriously allegation against a serving government minister."
Ms Oakeshott said Pryce claimed Huhne pressurised her into taking the points after the speeding offence in 2003. She said: "My understanding from her was that the first she knew that a speeding offence had been committed was that she received a letter through the post addressed to her saying that she had been nominated as the driver of the vehicle which belonged to her husband.
"They had had a row about it and she had confronted him and asked him why on earth she had received this letter. He had filled the form out, nominated her without any consultation about it, and put her in an extremely difficult position. She was understandably very upset about it.
"She did not seem to have a very detailed recollection of these circumstances but she was clear she had filled in the form herself but had been very, very unhappy about doing so and felt that she had been put into an impossible situation by doing so, and that is had been a fait accompli."
Ms Oakeshott said she could see Pryce's motives for wanting to get the story out, saying: "I think she felt the voters ought to know the true character of her husband. It's quite clear from the email correspondence that she was also slightly vengeful."