Coffee House

Chris Huhne pleads guilty to perverting the course of justice

4 February 2013

10:33 AM

4 February 2013

10:33 AM

Just as everyone was settling down to a long entertaining courtroom drama, Chris Huhne has stunned everyone and pled guilty. His trial for charges of perverting the course of justice was due to start this morning. But at the start of the court hearing, the former Lib Dem Energy Secretary switched his plea – having already entered a ‘not guilty’ plea – to ‘guilty.’

His estranged wife Vicky Pryce had already entered a’ not guilty’ plea, using the defence of marital coercion, on the allegations that she took her husband’s speeding points on her licence to enable him to avoid prosecution, and Huhne’s case will go forward for sentencing, while Pryce’s trial resumes tomorrow. You can read the CPS sentencing guidelines on perverting the course of justice here.


The change of plea now raises the prospect of a rather grim Tory vs Lib Dem by-election in Huhne’s Eastleigh constituency. It is on Grant Shapps’ list of target seats, and Huhne won the seat with a majority of 3,864 in 2010. William Hill has the Tories odds-on to win at 1.2, the LibDems at 6/4 and UKIP at 33-1. And Labour? 100-1. Don’t expect many visits from Ed.

Comments on this post have been closed for legal reasons: Pryce’s trial continues.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • salieri

    It is absolutely imperative that nobody should gloat at the news. Mighty tempting, though…

  • judyk113

    Tweets are saying that the judge remarked, on granting him unlimited bail, that he should be under no illusions as to the severity of the sentence. Perverting the course of justice is one of the most serious crimes, as Lord Archer discovered. The fact that he went right down to the wire of the start of the trial before changing his plea on the morning of the hearing, and despite having one of the finest QCs reputed for “difficult”c cases, is unlikely to be looked on favourably by the judge. As is the fact that he vigorously protested his innocence to his fellow ministers, the press etc.

  • Colin

    Has there been a deal to avoid prison?