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Huhne and ex wife wake up behind bars
7:09am Tuesday 12th March 2013 in News
The start of their sentences come exactly a decade since the speeding offence that led to their downfall.
Huhne and Pryce were yesterday handed eight-month sentence at Southwark Crown Court for perverting the course of justice when Pryce took speeding points for Huhne in 2003.
Sentencing, Mr Justice Sweeney said Huhne had fallen from a ''great height'', and Pryce from a ''considerable height''.
Economist Pryce, 60, was convicted after a retrial last week, while Huhne, 58, pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial last month after denying the offence for nearly two years.
The former energy secretary, who once had ambitions for the Lib Dem leadership, has become the first former Cabinet minister since Jonathan Aitken to be jailed.
He is also facing a hefty legal bill as the Crown Prosecution Service is pursuing £79,015 for the cost of his prosecution, plus an extra £31,000 incurred by his efforts to get the case thrown out.
A costs hearing for Huhne and Pryce - whose prosecution cost £38,544 - is due to take place at a later date.
Last night Prime Minister David Cameron said the sentence was a reminder that no-one, however powerful, is above the law, while Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg dubbed Huhne's downfall a ''personal tragedy''.
Huhne himself apologised publicly, conducting several interviews ahead of his arrival at prison.
He said he should have owned up, adding: ''Lawmakers can be many things, but they cannot be lawbreakers.''
Sentencing Huhne and Pryce in front of a packed courtroom yesterday, Mr Justice Sweeney told the former couple: ''To the extent that anything good has come out of this whole process, it is that now, finally, you have both been brought to justice for your joint offence.
''Any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault.''
He said both had given valuable public service but he had no doubt of their ''shared ambition'' when Pryce took the points.
Today marks exactly 10 years since the start of the saga, when Huhne's black BMW was clocked speeding on the M11 as the then-MEP drove back from Stansted airport In a bid to avoid a driving ban as he already had nine points, Pryce took three points for Huhne.
Years later, she revealed the swap in a bid to ''nail'' her ex-husband, who left her in 2010 for PR adviser Carina Trimingham.
Pryce revealed the scandal to both the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Times, resulting in it being published in May 2011.
But despite her efforts to bring Huhne down with no damage to herself, her own involvement emerged, and the pair were both charged last February.
Huhne was forced to step down from the Cabinet, and he finally admitted his guilt last month when his attempts to get the case dismissed failed.
Pryce was tried twice after the jury in her original trial failed to reach a verdict, but her defence of marital coercion proved unsuccessful and she was convicted last week.
In mitigation for the 60-year-old, Julian Knowles QC yesterday said she had suffered a ''truly tragic personal life'' in the past few years, adding: ''No wife should have to suffer what she suffered.''
John Kelsey-Fry QC, for Huhne, said Huhne had committed a ''serious wrong'' and had ''only himself to blame''.
He said the situation had had ''catastrophic'' consequences for the former MP, telling the court: ''I hope I am not overstating it by saying nobody has ever lost more so publicly and suffered such vilification for an offence of perverting the course of justice by points swapping.''