Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne (born 2 July 1954), known as Chris Huhne, is an energy and climate change consultant and formerly a British journalist and politician who was the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Eastleigh from 2005 to 2013 and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2010 to 2012. From September 2013 to August 2014 he wrote a weekly column for The Guardian.
On 3 February 2012, Huhne resigned from the Cabinet when he was charged with perverting the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case. His wife at the time, Vicky Pryce, had claimed that she was driving the car, and accepted the licence penalty points on his behalf so that he could avoid being banned from driving. Huhne denied the charge until the trial began on 4 February 2013 when he changed his plea to guilty, resigned as a member of parliament, and left the Privy Council. He and Pryce were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on 11 March to eight months in prison for perverting the course of justice. He served 9 weeks of this sentence at HMP Leyhill before he was released.
|Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change|
12 May 2010 – 5 February 2012
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||Ed Miliband|
|Succeeded by||Ed Davey|
|Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson|
20 December 2007 – 12 May 2010
|Preceded by||Nick Clegg|
|Succeeded by||Lynne Featherstone (2015)|
|Liberal Democrat Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Spokesman|
3 March 2006 – 19 December 2007
Vince Cable (Acting)
|Preceded by||Norman Baker|
|Succeeded by||Steve Webb|
|Liberal Democrat Deputy Treasury Spokesman|
16 May 2005 – 3 March 2006
|Preceded by||David Laws|
|Succeeded by||Julia Goldsworthy|
|Member of Parliament|
5 May 2005 – 5 February 2013
|Preceded by||David Chidgey|
|Succeeded by||Mike Thornton|
|Member of the European Parliament|
for South East England
10 June 1999 – 12 May 2005
|Preceded by||Constituency established|
|Succeeded by||Sharon Bowles|
Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne
2 July 1954
|Political party||Social Democratic Party (Before 1988)|
Liberal Democrats (1988–2013)
|Spouse(s)||Vicky Pryce (1984–2011)|
|Domestic partner||Carina Trimingham (2010–present)|
|Alma mater||Magdalen College, Oxford|
He attended Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a Demy and editor of Isis. He also attended the Sorbonne, Paris. At Oxford, Huhne edited the student magazine Isis, served on the executive of the Oxford University Labour Club, and achieved a first-class degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). He was active in student politics, supporting the Labour Party.
Before embarking on his political career, he was a City entrepreneur. He told The Independent in 2008: "I don't claim that I'm in other than a very happy position compared with most people, because, having spent a bit of time in the City before I was elected, being able to make a bit of money while I was there, I have a cushion." He started a company called IBCA Sovereign Ratings in 1994 that tried to "measure the risks of investing in different countries". In 1997 he became group managing director of Fitch IBCA, and from 1999 to 2003 was vice-chairman of Fitch Ratings.
Huhne was economics editor, leader writer and columnist for The Guardian, and economics editor, assistant editor and columnist for The Independent on Sunday. He was the business editor of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday during its investigations into Robert Maxwell's fraud on the Mirror group pension fund. He started as an undercover freelance reporter in India during Indira Gandhi's emergency when western journalists had been expelled. He also worked for the Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo and The Economist as its Brussels correspondent between 1977 and 1980. He won both the junior and senior Wincott awards for financial journalist of the year in 1980 and 1989 respectively. Along with his work in newspapers and magazines he co-wrote the book Debt & Danger: The World Financial Crisis (Penguin, 1985) with Harold Lever, and wrote Real World Economics (Penguin 1990).
Huhne contested the 1983 general election as a Parliamentary candidate for the SDP–Liberal Alliance in Reading East but came a distant second and in the 1987 general election, he was the SDP–Liberal Alliance candidate in the Oxford West and Abingdon seat, a seat that would be won ten years later by Liberal Democrat candidate Evan Harris.
In June 1999 Huhne was elected as a member of the European Parliament for South East England. The Liberal Democrats came third with a total of 228,136 votes behind the Conservatives and Labour. The proportion of votes received meant that the party was able to send the top two list candidates to the European Parliament, Emma Nicholson the top list candidate and Chris Huhne, second on the list. During the 2004 European Parliament elections Huhne was re-elected along with Emma Nicholson with the party having received 338,342 votes, 15% of the total vote. In 2005 Huhne stood for election to the United Kingdom parliament representing the seat of Eastleigh in Hampshire. After he was elected as a Member of the House of Commons on 5 May 2005, Sharon Bowles, the candidate third on the Liberal Democrat list, replaced Huhne as representative for the South East of England.
During his time in the European Parliament, Huhne was the only Liberal Democrat MEP in a ranking by The Economist of the three highest-profile UK MEPs (the others being Glenys Kinnock and Caroline Lucas). He was a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, concerned with economic and financial policy including regulation of the financial sector. He was economic spokesman for the pan-European Liberal group in the European Parliament and was responsible for introducing "sunset clauses" – time limits on powers – into European Union law for the first time, for radically amending Commission proposals on financial services, and for opening up the European Central Bank to greater scrutiny.
In addition to his European Parliament responsibilities, he was also active in the development of Liberal Democrat policy as chairman of four policy groups: broadcasting and the media, globalisation, the introduction of the euro, and the reform of public services. On public services, he argued that money was a necessary condition of improvement, but that the key was decentralisation and democratic control; local voters needed to be able to hold local decision-takers to account.
Huhne was first elected to represent Eastleigh at the general election on 5 May 2005, a constituency within the area for which he was previously the Member of the European Parliament. David Chidgey, the previous MP for the constituency, was also a Liberal Democrat who won his seat in what was historically a Conservative area in a by-election in 1994 following the death of Stephen Milligan. The result in 2005 was close, with Huhne winning with a majority of 568 over Conservative rival Conor Burns. In the 2010 general election Huhne retained his seat with an increased majority of 3,864 over Conservative Maria Hutchings. He was appointed as Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds on 5 February 2013, which vacated his seat and thus ended his tenure as Member of Parliament for Eastleigh. In accepting this office, he became the first official Liberal or Liberal Democrat MP to resign a parliamentary seat since 1941.
Following his election to the House of Commons then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy made Huhne the party's shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. In this role Huhne led the party's debate on the 2005 Finance Bill, suggesting that amendments should be made to stop a pensions loophole which would have allowed a 40% discount on property and other investments. In the pre-budget report for 2006, the Chancellor conceded the change.
Huhne was able to carve out a distinctive position on the issue of green taxation . He argued for a radical expansion of taxes on pollution, allowing for reductions in the income tax rate on the lowest paid. This theme endeared Huhne to environmentalists and market liberals alike, allowing him to pick up supporters as the campaign went on. He also argued for a repeal of elements of the Labour government's anti-terrorism legislation, which many felt had undermined British civil liberties, and for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq within a year. He described himself as a 'social liberal'.
Although the majority of Liberal Democrat MPs declared their support for Sir Menzies Campbell, Huhne did receive endorsements from some party notables including Lord Maclennan and William Rodgers. Amongst the media, The Economist and The Independent supported his leadership bid. He was backed from early on by a number of bloggers, and gained much momentum from an internet campaign.
In the final vote, Huhne finished runner-up, tallying 21,628 votes to Sir Menzies Campbell's 29,697. Campbell appointed him as the Liberal Democrat's environment spokesman in the subsequent frontbench reshuffle, in order for Huhne to develop a viable programme to expand on his green campaign themes.
During the election campaign, a news story in The Independent on 27 February 2006, reported that an unsigned document entitled "Chris Huhne's Hypocritical Personal Share Portfolio" was being circulated at Lib Dem leadership election meetings. The document alleged that Huhne had invested in companies that the document described as "unethical". The document stated: "Chris Huhne is campaigning for the Lib Dem leadership on a green, carbon-neutral platform, and further advocates increasing tax for the wealthy, which would include himself. However, his shareholdings include, or have included, mining companies, oil companies and tax shelters."
The intellectual energy surrounding Huhne's leadership campaign did much to inform the Liberal Democrats' recent political agenda. His proposals for realigning green taxes and income tax – the green tax switch – were at the heart of the fiscal package endorsed at the party's September 2006 conference.
Huhne was involved in developing his party's thoughts on climate change and the environment, including a consideration of the challenges and opportunities they create for British businesses. He also drew attention to what he said was the divergence between the Conservative Party's environmental rhetoric and its policies.
Huhne was one of fourteen MPs forming an all-party parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism in the UK. Their report criticised boycotts of Israeli academics as "an assault on academic freedom and intellectual exchange" and accused "some left-wing activists and Muslim extremists [...] of using criticism of Israel as 'a pretext' for spreading hatred against British Jews". Huhne is, however, a critic of Israeli government policy in the Middle East, and strongly supports the creation of a separate Palestinian state. He described the Israeli response in Lebanon to Hezbollah's rocket attacks as disproportionate and counter-productive, arguing that a strong Lebanese state is in Israel's long-term interest.
In March 2007 it was falsely reported that he had written to executives at Channel 4 to try and stop their showing The Great Global Warming Swindle. In an e-mail exchange with Iain Dale, Huhne stated that he only wrote to ask for the channel's comments, and the Daily Telegraph later ran a correction and apologised for the misunderstanding, saying it was happy to accept that "Mr Huhne's letter was not an attempt to prevent the film being shown or suppress debate on the issue".
After Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg announced his intention, during the 2007 party conference, to stand for the leadership should Sir Menzies Campbell retire, Chris Huhne, when asked about his leadership ambitions, said that there was: "no vacancy, and it would be premature to even talk about the position of there being a vacancy".
Following Sir Menzies Campbell's resignation on 15 October 2007, Huhne was considered to be one of the strongest contenders for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats. On 17 October, he became the first member of the party to announce his candidacy, saying "I've decided to give it a go" and declaring his vision of a "fairer and greener society". Huhne said that he wanted the party to be committed to the idea that "everybody's individual worth and chance is given its full possibility."
On 28 October 2007, Huhne announced that he had secured the support of 10 of his 62 parliamentary colleagues for his formal nomination. His rival Nick Clegg announced the support of 33 MPs. Huhne also claimed backing from at least twelve peers, four MSPs, and three Welsh Assembly members. After former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown announced his support for Clegg, a previous Liberal leader Lord Steel declared his support for Huhne, based in part on Huhne's position on the Trident nuclear programme.
In the last week of campaigning, his team were bullish about his chances, predicting a win. In the final count, the party membership chose his rival Nick Clegg by a narrow margin of 511 votes out of more than 41,000 counted.
About 1,300 postal votes were caught up in the Christmas post and missed the election deadline. An unofficial check of the late papers showed Huhne had enough votes among them to hand him victory. Huhne stood by the result, saying: "Nick Clegg won fair and square on the rules counting the ballot papers that arrived in by the deadline. There is no question of any re-run." Following the leadership election, Clegg chose Huhne to be the party's Home Affairs Spokesman.
During the leadership election, Nick Clegg registered a formal complaint about Huhne's conduct to Chris Rennard, the party's Chief Whip and returning officer. Clegg stated that his rival was indulging in: "the politics of innuendo, mounting false challenges and running a campaign that is handing political ammunition to the party's political opponents." Huhne and Clegg were debating on live television on BBC's The Politics Show on Sunday 18 November 2007, when presenter Jon Sopel produced a briefing document that had been specially delivered to the show's production team by the Huhne campaign team on the preceding Friday. The document excoriated Clegg on a number of policy and political issues and was titled "Calamity Clegg". When challenged about the document, Huhne claimed that he had no knowledge of it and said he did not agree with the document title but agreed with the points within it. Asked how it was possible that he had no knowledge of such a major document sent to the producer of the show he was due to appear on, Huhne replied: "It's quite impossible to check everything that goes out of the office... But I can assure you that's not had my authorization." After Clegg complained about what he called "dirty tricks" and other senior party members condemned the Huhne campaign attack, Huhne's campaign manager Anna Werrin claimed that the title of the memo was just the product of an "over-zealous researcher" and had not been seen or approved by Huhne or any senior campaign officials prior to release. "The document title had not been approved before the document was sent out and neither Chris nor I were aware of it."
Speaking to the Independent on 21 November 2007, Huhne claimed: "Unfortunately it was a mixture of responsibilities. It was an over-zealous young researcher who was responsible for drawing up the document." The researcher was not on his staff, he said, denying that, as a former journalist, he might have been expected to read what was put out in his name before it was issued.
In October 2008, Huhne led the Liberal-Democrat response to the government's announcement of plans to expand the capacity to collect records of people using electronic communications. The Home Secretary's announcement was in response to warnings by police and the security services that the growing fragmentation and complexity of communications was hindering their tackling of terrorism and organised criminality. But Huhne disagreed with the government's response to the police and security services, saying: "The Government’s Orwellian plans for a vast database of our private communications are deeply worrying. I hope that this consultation is not just a sham exercise to soft-soap an unsuspecting public.”
In January 2009, Huhne was credited with uncovering an instance of data loss of government information caused by a courier company losing a computer disc containing bank details of up to 2,000 public servants working for the British Council. Huhne blamed the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and the government for the courier company's loss and said that the incident was an example of why the UK should not have identity cards: "This is another instance in a long line of slapdash data protection by government departments. If Whitehall cannot look after its own data records it should not be trusted with the personal information of every citizen as it wants with the identity card scheme."
On 6 November 2007, Huhne made remarks about the Speaker of the House of Commons on the BBC television programme Newsnight in which he claimed that the Speaker, Michael Martin, had fallen asleep during a speech by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "The Speaker unfortunately fell asleep during Gordon Brown's speech ... I'm not sure I'm allowed to say that, but he reacted in an entirely understandable way to what was not the most riveting of parliamentary occasions." After the remarks were repeated in several publications, Huhne made a public apology to the Speaker in the House of Commons on 8 November in which he withdrew his prior comments. "It was wrong of me to draw the Chair into a matter of political dispute. I hope you will accept I intended no personal offence and fully withdraw my comments." In February 2010 Huhne was played by Alan Parnaby in the television film On Expenses.
Huhne was an avid supporter of Professor David Nutt after he was dismissed by Home Secretary Alan Johnson as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in November 2009. Nutt had criticised the government's decision to reclassify cannabis as a Class B drug rather than keeping it as a class C. Huhne said the decision to sack Nutt was "disgraceful" and commented: "what is the point of having independent scientific advice if as soon as you get some advice that you don't like, you sack the person who has given it to you?". Attacking the government, he said that if they did not want to take expert scientific advice they might as well have a "committee of tabloid newspaper editors to advise on drugs policy". Cannabis had been re-classified as a class C drug in 2004 by then Home Secretary David Blunkett, only for Jacqui Smith to reverse the ruling in 2008, a decision taken despite official advisers recommending against it.
As part of The Daily Telegraph investigation into expense claims by MPs, Huhne was reported to have claimed for various items including groceries, fluffy dusters and a trouser press. In 2006, he claimed £5,066 for painting work on his garden fences and chairs. He collected £119 for a Corby trouser press from John Lewis but later said he would repay the cost in order "to avoid controversy". He later claimed on a live Channel 4 news programme that he needed the trouser press to "look smart" for work. Huhne's office running costs during the 2007/2008 financial year were the 206th highest out of 645, his second home claims were 580th highest (or 65th cheapest) out of 645, and his total expense claims were below average, ranking 418th most expensive.
Following the 2010 general election, Huhne became a member of the Liberal Democrats' key negotiating team alongside Danny Alexander, David Laws and Andrew Stunell that brokered the agreement to go into a governing coalition with the Conservatives. Following the negotiations and the formation of a full coalition Huhne was appointed Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the tenth most senior minister in the new government. There had been some speculation that Huhne might be appointed as Home Secretary, as he had been the Liberal Democrat spokesman for Home Affairs in the preceding three years, although this post went to the Conservative Theresa May. He was appointed as a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010.
A vocal environmentalist, Huhne accepted the role of Secretary of State with the stated intention of making the nation more ecologically conscious. Among his first actions was launching National Wind Week by speaking at an event in London's Leicester Square on 15 June 2010. Underscoring his personal commitment to wind power, Huhne erected an 8-foot wind turbine at his constituency home in Eastleigh.
In government, Huhne maintained a flexible approach on the subject of nuclear energy, advocating the three-pronged portfolio approach to energy: a commitment to nuclear energy; the development of more renewable energy, such as wind and sea power; and new carbon-capture technology to mitigate the damaging environmental effects of fossil fuel-fired power plants and industrial facilities. In an interview with The Observer in March 2011, after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, Huhne stated that: "there are a lot of issues outside of the realm of nuclear safety, which we will have to assess. One is what the economics of nuclear power post-Fukushima will be, if there is an increase in the cost in capital to nuclear operators." This represents an evolution of his approach to the nuclear issue. In 2007, Huhne was quoted as saying: "Nuclear is a tried, tested and failed technology and the government must stop putting time, effort and subsidies into this outdated industry."
In June 2010, Huhne cancelled an £80 million loan to Sheffield Forgemasters which had been pledged by the preceding Labour government to build power plant components. He was criticised by Labour Shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband who said that the money for the loan had been set aside and would have resulted in at least £110 million returning to the Exchequer. On 1 July 2010, Huhne replied to Miliband saying: "The loan to Sheffield Forgemasters was not a commercial loan. If it was a commercial loan it would have been arranged through the banks and not by the government. It was precisely because of the public subsidy element, and the fact that the public subsidy element was not affordable, that the government decided not to proceed with it." The cancellation of the loan was one of a number of projects agreed by the previous Labour government cancelled in an announcement to the House of Commons on 17 June 2010.
On 9 December 2010, Huhne represented the United Kingdom at the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The gathering, at which over 190 countries were represented, announced a deal to curb climate change which Prime Minister David Cameron described as a "very significant step forward." The agreement struck in Mexico included a recognition that deeper cuts in carbon emissions were needed and that a fund should be set up to help developing countries reduce their carbon emissions. Huhne described the deal as a "serious package" of measures but acknowledged that there was still more work to do prior to the next climate change meeting in Durban, South Africa, the following year. Following the conference, David Cameron said that his government would be the "greenest ever" and that Britain would meet its international obligations regarding climate change.
If Baroness Warsi thinks that AV will benefit fascism she has to explain why the BNP wants to stick with what we have and Operation Black Vote supports AV. The BNP know the present system is their only chance of election. This is another example of the increasingly Goebbels-like campaign from the anti-AV people, for whom no lie is too idiotic given the truth is so unpalatable to them. AV makes lazy MPs work harder and reach out beyond their tribe. It is what Britain needs to clean up politics.
On 5 February 2013 Huhne resigned as an MP following his plea of guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Soon after his sentence, Huhne was appointed European manager of Zilkha Biomass Energy. The firm makes wood chip pellets in the United States, selling them as green energy around the world and is owned by Selim Zilkha and his son Michael, who was a contemporary of Huhne's at Westminster School. Huhne's work in sustainable energy raised concerns that a cosy relationship between ministers (or former ministers) and energy companies may affect renewable energy policy adversely. Huhne's role is to be responsible for "growing the business in the European Union".
The Times reported that green subsidies for wood pellets, championed by Huhne when he was energy and climate change secretary, have cost the UK taxpayer at least 400 million pounds in subsidised power stations burning American wood pellets. The report suggests ministers following European renewable energy targets falsely assumed burning trees was carbon-neutral, while in fact shipping wood across the Atlantic produces more greenhouse gases than coal, at much greater prices.
Huhne is also a consultant for Nationwide Energy Services.
Huhne married Greek-born economist Vicky Pryce (formerly Chief Economist in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) in 1984 shortly after she divorced her first husband, with whom she had two daughters. Huhne and Pryce have three children together. In a video statement made during the 2007 Liberal Democrats' leadership election campaign, Huhne described his philosophy about family life: "Relationships, including particularly family relationships, are actually the most important things in making people happy and fulfilled". Talking about his wife to The Independent in 2008 he stated: "I also have a very hard-working and extremely intelligent wife, who manages to earn far more than I do."
In June 2010, Huhne admitted that he had been involved in a relationship with Carina Trimingham and stated that he had decided to leave his wife to be with her. Huhne's wife and children were unaware of his behaviour and plans. Within one week of Huhne's declaration, Pryce filed for divorce on the grounds of Huhne's "admitted adultery". Trimingham had worked on Huhne's campaigns for the Liberal Democrat leadership in 2006 and 2007 and was a paid staff member on his 2010 general-election campaign. She was press officer for Brian Paddick during the 2008 Mayor of London election, and was campaigns director at the Electoral Reform Society. Huhne was defended by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who said: "What goes on in people's private lives is a subject that fascinates the tabloid press but is irrelevant to the job they are trying to do." Huhne and Pryce divorced in January 2011.
Huhne owns seven houses, five purchased as investment rental properties, and two in which he lives. One is in Eastleigh, his former constituency; the other is a town house in Clapham, South London.
"Electoral reform" is among the personal interests that Huhne cites on his biography on the official Liberal Democrats website. He describes his other interests as "European single currency, economics, Third World debt and development, Europe".
Prior to his careers as a financial journalist, analyst and politician, Huhne wrote four books that are mainly on the themes of either Third-World debt and development, or European integration. His latest book is entitled Both Sides of the Coin (1999, with James Forder), in which he argues the case for British membership in the euro. His first was Debt and Danger (Penguin Special, 1985), an analysis of the 1984 Third World debt crisis co-written with Lord Lever of Manchester, the former Labour cabinet minister.
He was a contributor to the Orange Book (2004), in which he advocates reforms to the United Nations and international governance. Huhne was critical of the most controversial article in the Orange Book, in which David Laws proposed an insurance-based National Health Service. He did not take part in the successor volume, Britain after Blair and has voiced dismay at the way its predecessor was presented as a break with the party's social liberal traditions. More recently, he contributed to the book The City in Europe and the World (2005) and two articles to Reinventing the State (2007) edited by Duncan Brack, Richard Grayson and David Howarth. These cover the case for localism in which Huhne argues that there is no contradiction between localism and equality, and the need for environmental policy to tackle climate change.
In May 2011 Huhne's estranged wife Vicky Pryce approached a reporter for the Mail on Sunday with a claim that Huhne had "pressurised people to take his driving licence penalty points" on his behalf in 2003. Huhne denied the allegations of perverting the course of justice, contrary to common law. Essex Police said: "We take allegations such as this one extremely seriously and will take action where necessary."
Essex Police sent initial papers to the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the allegations and Huhne exercised his right to remain silent in response to police questions in May. On 25 June 2011, Essex Police said that a judge at the Crown Court at Chelmsford had granted them a court order to take possession of a recording from The Sunday Times in which the ex-couple apparently discuss the case. It then emerged that Huhne had again been interviewed by police concerning the allegations, and on 28 July the police handed the file to prosecutors. On 17 August 2011, the Crown Prosecution Service remitted the matter to Essex Police with a direction to investigate the matter further. On 25 August 2011, Essex Police re-submitted their allegations to the CPS. A decision on whether criminal proceedings would be instituted for the alleged offence was expected to be made by the end of September 2011.
On 28 October 2011, the Crown Prosecution Service referred the matter to Essex Police for further investigation, having completed a "full review" of the allegations. At a private hearing in October 2011, a judge in the Crown Court at Chelmsford ordered The Sunday Times to produce email messages between Pryce and the newspaper's political editor in relation to the police investigation. On 22 November, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC announced that the CPS was "very close" to deciding whether to prosecute. The reason for the delay was that The Sunday Times was seeking judicial review of the court order the CPS had obtained. The DPP stated "we do not shy away from prosecuting politicians". The judicial review hearing was scheduled for 20 January 2012. On that date The Sunday Times dropped its application for judicial review and said that it would comply with the court order for delivery of the documents.
The emails were delivered to Essex Police, who said there was no need to conduct further interviews.
The DPP announced on 3 February 2012 that both Huhne and Pryce had been charged with perverting the course of justice. Huhne thereupon resigned from the Cabinet. As a result of his resignation, and in accordance with the rules governing severance payments to resigning ministers, Huhne received a tax-free payment of £17,000. Huhne and Pryce appeared before Mr Justice Saunders in the Crown Court at Southwark on 2 March 2012. A trial was timetabled for early October 2012, with the possibility that the case might start earlier. Neither defendant entered a plea and both were granted unconditional bail. At a plea and case management hearing on 1 June 2012, Huhne announced his intention to apply to the court to have the charge dismissed. Pryce entered a plea of not guilty, and would advance a defence at trial of marital coercion: that is, that her then husband coerced her into taking his penalty points. On 5 October 2012, the trial was adjourned until 14 January 2013 for "legal reasons" which were not disclosed. On 28 January 2013, Huhne was arraigned and pleaded "not guilty" to the indictment. A new trial date was set for 4 February 2013.
On 4 February Huhne pleaded guilty on re-arraignment, and was appointed to the Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, thus resigning his seat in Parliament and triggering a by-election. He was remanded on unconditional bail until sentencing at a date to be notified.
In February 2013, at the trial of Vicky Pryce it was revealed that Constance Briscoe had been arrested in relation to statements she had made to police that she had not had any involvement with the leaking of the driving licence points-swapping story. Briscoe was arrested on 6 October 2012. She was later convicted, sentenced to 16 months in prison and stripped of her barrister role. Prosecutor Andrew Edis told the jury that Briscoe and Pryce had "started it together by approaching a man called Andrew Alderson (a journalist working for the Mail on Sunday)", falsely claiming that one of Huhne's aides, Jo White, took points for him in 2003. Edis stated that Briscoe was a neighbour and friend of Pryce and that the "two of them appear to have cooked up a plan" to bring about Huhne's downfall.
On 11 March 2013, Huhne and Pryce were each sentenced to eight months' imprisonment. Huhne started serving his sentence in HM Prison Wandsworth but was reportedly transferred to HM Prison Leyhill in Gloucestershire. On the day after sentencing, David Burrowes MP wrote to the Attorney-General Dominic Grieve, asking him to exercise his power of referral to the Court of Appeal, as in Burrowes's view the sentences were too lenient. Grieve had until 8 April – 28 days after the original sentence – to decide whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal, which has the power to increase sentences.
Huhne and his ex-wife were released on 13 May 2013, having both served two months of their eight-month sentences. Following their release, both were subject to electronic tagging. Huhne was required to stay in his home between 7 pm and 7 am.
|title=(help) (subscription required)
|New constituency|| Member of the European Parliament
for South East England
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
| Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
In the 2006 Liberal Democrats leadership election, Sir Menzies Campbell was elected to succeed Charles Kennedy as Leader of the Liberal Democrats, the third-largest political party in the United Kingdom.
On 5 January 2006, following a period of heavy speculation about both his leadership and his personal life, party leader Charles Kennedy called for a leadership contest to allow party members to decide if his leadership should continue. On 7 January 2006, following public pressure from many prominent Liberal Democrats to stand down, including twenty-five Members of Parliament who publicly announced they would refuse to serve on the party's frontbench if he did not stand aside, Kennedy announced that he would not be standing in the leadership election, resigning as party leader with immediate effect.
Four candidates declared their intention to stand: Campbell, then interim leader; home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten; the party's President, Simon Hughes; and treasury spokesman Chris Huhne. Oaten garnered little support from colleagues and withdrew from the contest, confessing two days later to a sexual relationship with a male prostitute. Nominations for the leadership closed on 25 January 2006, and Campbell was announced as the winner on 2 March 2006, having won 45 percent of the first preference votes cast. This rose to 58 percent when votes cast for third-placed Hughes were excluded and his voters' second preferences were counted.2007 Liberal Democrats leadership election
The 2007 Liberal Democrats leadership election was held following the resignation of Sir Menzies Campbell as leader on 15 October 2007, after 19 months as leader of the Liberal Democrats, the third-largest political party in the United Kingdom. Vincent Cable, the deputy leader of the parliamentary party, was acting leader until the conclusion of the leadership election. The result was announced on 18 December 2007 with Nick Clegg winning by a narrow margin of 1.2%.2013 Eastleigh by-election
The Eastleigh by-election, 2013 was a parliamentary by-election held on 28 February 2013 for the United Kingdom House of Commons constituency of Eastleigh in Hampshire.The election was triggered by the resignation of the sitting MP, Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, which took effect on 5 February 2013. The resignation coincided with his guilty plea on the eve of a court case in which he and his ex-wife were to be prosecuted for lying to police about a historical speeding offence (committed in 2003 but which only came to light in May 2011). Huhne had already stood down from his position as the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in February 2012 when first charged.Mike Thornton retained the seat for the Liberal Democrats, though with a reduced majority compared with the 2010 general election. UKIP came second with a greatly increased share of the vote, the Conservatives came third, and Labour fourth. Following the election result, UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Conservative candidate Maria Hutchings each blamed the other party for splitting the vote and allowing the Liberal Democrats to win.2013 in England
Events from 2013 in EnglandCommunications Data Bill 2008
The Communications Data Bill was intended to create powers to collect data concerning people's phone, e-mail and web-browsing habits for mass surveillance in the United Kingdom. The government database would have included telephone numbers dialed, the websites visited and addresses to which e-mails are sent but not the text of e-mails or recorded telephone conversations.Since October 2007 telecommunication companies have been required to keep records of phone calls and text messages for twelve months. The bill would have extended the coverage to Internet website visited, email messages, and VOIP data.Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat Home affairs spokesman said at the time: "The government's Orwellian plans for a vast database of our private communications are deeply worrying."The plans were not completed during the Labour administration, but intentions to gain access to more communications data lived on under the coalition elected in 2010 as the Communications Capabilities Development Programme run by the Home Office's Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism. In 2012, a new Draft Communications Data Bill was published.Eastleigh (UK Parliament constituency)
Eastleigh is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament. The current MP is Mims Davies of the Conservative party, first elected in the 2015 general election.HM Prison Leyhill
HM Prison Leyhill is a Category D men's prison, located in the parish of Tortworth in Gloucestershire, England. Leyhill Prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.Interception Modernisation Programme
The Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) is a UK government initiative to extend the government's capabilities for lawful interception and storage of communications data. It has been widely reported that the IMP's eventual goal is to store details of all UK communications data in a central database.The proposal is similar to the NSA Call Database (MAINWAY) established by GCHQ's American counterpart NSA and the Titan traffic database established by the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment.In 2008 plans were being made to collect data on all phone calls, emails, chatroom discussions and web-browsing habits as part of the IMP, thought likely to require the insertion of 'thousands' of black box probes into the country’s computer and telephone networks. The proposals were expected to be included in the Communications Data Bill 2008. The "giant database" would include telephone numbers dialed, the websites visited and addresses to which e-mails are sent "but not the content of e-mails or telephone conversations." Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat Home affairs spokesman said: "The government's Orwellian plans for a vast database of our private communications are deeply worrying."The Home Office denied reports that a prototype of the IMP had already been built.Reports in April 2009 suggest that the government has changed its public stance to one of using legal measures to compel communications providers to store the data themselves, and making it available for government to access, with then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith stating that "there are absolutely no plans for a single central store."The new plans are thought to involve spending £2bn on paying ISPs to install deep packet inspection equipment within their own networks, and obliging them to perform the cross-correlation and profiling of their users' behaviour themselves, in effect achieving the original goals of the IMP by different means.
A detailed analysis was published by the Policy Engagement Network of the London School of Economics on 16 June 2009. The All Party Privacy Group held a hearing on IMP in the House of Commons on 1 July 2009.The UK's new coalition government has apparently revived the IMP in their recent Strategic Defence and Security Review. The new version of the IMP is known as the Communications Capabilities Development Programme.Kirksanton
Kirksanton is a village on the A5093 road, in Copeland Borough, in the county of Cumbria. Nearby settlements include the town of Millom and the villages of Silecroft and Whicham. The name Kirksanton is in reference to the Gaelic Irish saint Santán (sometimes "Sanctán").
In April 2009, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband included Kirksanton in a list of eleven potential new nuclear power plants. The site was ruled out by the new government's Energy Secretary Chris Huhne in October 2010 when the list of potential sites was reduced to eight – Braystones the only other potential new nuclear site at the time, was subsequently rejected also.Marital coercion
Marital coercion was a defence to most crimes under English criminal law and under the criminal law of Northern Ireland. It is similar to duress. It was abolished in England and Wales by section 177 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which came into force on 13 May 2014. The abolition does not apply in relation to offences committed before that date.Mike Thornton (politician)
Michael Douglas Thornton (born 1 May 1952) is a British politician and former Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Eastleigh in Hampshire. He was elected in the Eastleigh by-election held on 28 February 2013, a seat which he lost at the 2015 general election.Nigel Sweeney
Sir Nigel Hamilton Sweeney (born 18 March 1954), styled The Hon. Mr Justice Sweeney, is a High Court judge.
Sweeney studied law at the University of Nottingham under Sir John Cyril Smith. He was called to the bar in 1976 at the Middle Temple, where he was made a bencher in 1997, and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2000. He was appointed to the High Court (Queen's Bench) in September 2008.Prior to being appointed a High Court judge, Sweeney was a barrister in the United Kingdom, practising from 6 King's Bench Walk. He prosecuted a number of notable criminal trials, including the perpetrators of the 1984 IRA Brighton bombing and the attempted bombings of 21 July 2005, Neo-Nazi terrorist David Copeland and murderers Michael Stone and Kamel Bourgass.He presided over the trial in February and March 2013 of former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne MP and his former wife, Vicky Pryce, for perverting the course of justice contrary to common law. He sentenced another MP Dennis MacShane for fraud in the aftermath of the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal.More recently he presided over and was sentencing judge in high-profile cases involving terrorists and extremists, such as the two men responsible for the murder of Lee Rigby in 2013 and White supremacist bomber Pavlo Lapshyn. He was the presiding judge in the trial of Rolf Harris for various counts of indecent assault dating back to the 1960s.R v Huhne
Regina v Christopher Huhne and Vasiliki Pryce is the prosecution of the former British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne MP, and his former wife, Vicky Pryce, the former Head of the Government Economic Service, for perverting the course of justice, contrary to common law. Huhne became the first Cabinet minister in British history to resign as a consequence of criminal proceedings. On 4 February 2013, Huhne was convicted on the basis of his own plea after re-arraignment. The trial of Pryce began on the following day, lasting until 20 February 2013 when the jury were discharged by the judge. A re-trial began on 25 February 2013 and led to the conviction of Pryce on 7 March 2013.Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was a British government cabinet position from 2008 to 2016. The Department of Energy and Climate Change was created on 3 October 2008 when former Prime Minister Gordon Brown reshuffled his Cabinet.
The Energy and Climate Change Secretary revived the earlier post of the Secretary of State for Energy as head of the Department of Energy, existing from 1974 to 1992. After which, the Department of Energy was merged into the Department of Trade and Industry under the Conservative government of Sir John Major in 1992.
Sixteen years later, and immediately prior to the creation of the new department, energy policy was the responsibility of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (itself now a defunct government department, superseded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).
In 2010, Lord Marland was made Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State.On 3 February 2012, Chris Huhne resigned from the post after it was announced that he would be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice, in relation to accusations that he passed on speeding penalties to his ex-wife to avoid losing his own licence. The post was taken over by Ed Davey on the same day.The post was formed into the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in July 2016.South East England (European Parliament constituency)
South East England is a constituency of the European Parliament. It currently elects 10 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) using the D'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.Southport Resolution
The Southport Resolution are a set of triple-lock directives of the United Kingdom's Liberal Democratic political party, which sets out the convention that the leader of the party should follow if they choose to enter into a national-level political coalition with another political party.Timeline of events in the 2006 Liberal Democrats leadership election
This timeline of events in the Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2006 lists the events covering the period from Charles Kennedy's initial call for a leadership election with the Liberal Democrats to the conclusion of the 2006 Liberal Democrats leadership election.Vicky Pryce
Vasiliki "Vicky" Pryce (née Kourmouzi (Greek: Βασιλική Κουρμούζη); born July 1952) is a Greek-born British economist, and former Joint Head of the United Kingdom's Government Economic Service. On 7 March 2013, Pryce and her former husband, Chris Huhne, were convicted of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to eight months in prison. After Huhne pleaded guilty, they both served nine weeks in prison.
|Minister of Fuel, Light and Power|
|Minister of Co-ordination of|
Transport, Fuel and Power
|Minister of Fuel and Power|
|Minister of Power|
|Minister of Technology|
|Secretary of State for Trade and Industry|
|Secretary of State for Energy|
|President of the Board of Trade and|
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
|Secretary of State for Business,|
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
|Secretary of State for Energy|
and Climate Change
|Secretary of State for Business,|
Energy and Industrial Strategy
Outgoing Leader: Charles Kennedy
Outgoing Leader: Sir Menzies Campbell