Caven blog

Speeding his way to jail

Last night Chris Huhne, the former cabinet minister, spent his first night in jail for lying about who was owed the speeding points handed to him in 2003.

It is a dramatic fall from grace for a politician who was once considered one of the most dynamic ministers in the coalition. He only became an MP in 2005, but was energy secretary in the early stages of the coalition before the scandal broke.

He had initially agreed with his wife, Vicky Pryce, that she should take the points he accrued for speeding as he would have been handed a driving ban. They lied to the police, and the points went on her licence.

When the story broke in 2010, he maintained the lie until the evidence became overwhelming and he admitted the truth. Yesterday both he and his wife were jailed for eight months, although they will probably be out of jail, possibly with tags, after two months.

The incredible twist is that it was Pryce herself who leaked the story about the points swap, in order to gain revenge on Huhne for leaving her for his PR adviser, Carina Trimingham. But the judge jailed her as well, citing her ‘implacable’ desire for revenge, and her refusal to admit that she was guilty. She always maintained the points swap came about through marital coercion.

From a motoring perspective this is an interesting verdict. Judge Mr Justice Sweeney has taken a very strong line over this, sending out a message that lying about points – perjury – is a serious offence. According to the AA, in 2011 up to 300,000 drivers in the UK may have persuaded others to take their points.

That’s an awful lot of jail time.

Sources:

The Guardian

The Automotive Industry Digest

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