Huhne pleads guilty - as it happened

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Latest

  • Huhne admits perverting the course of justice.
  • He was also resigned as Eastleigh MP.
  • Today was the first day of Chris Huhne's and Vicky Pryce's trial
  • It's alleged Ms Pryce took Mr Huhne's speeding points on his behalf
  • Pryce previously pleaded not guilty on the grounds of marital coercion
  • Huhne also entered a not guilty plea to the charge at a hearing last week.
  • As Ms Pryce is still to face trial, we are unable to allow comments for legal reasons.

6:24pm

We are now going to close down the live updates but will post any further updates on the site, should anything happened later to develop the situtation.

5:39pm

As Chris Huhne's legal team fought to get his case thrown out, his fractured relationship with his son Peter was revealed in a series of text messages read out to the court.

The messages, revealed for the first time today, showed distraught Peter Huhne's anger at his father about the break up of his parents' 26-year marriage.

3:23pm

We have put together a full profile of Chris Huhne's political career in the House of Commons.

You can read it here.

3:11pm

2:33pm

Eastleigh Borough Council declined to comment on today's developments.

But a spoksman said: “Following today's resignation of Chris Huhne MP the Council will await further advice from the Electoral Commission as to the timing of the forthcoming by-election”.

2:28pm

A spokesman for Eastleigh Conservatives said it could take weeks to hold a by-election in the town.
But Charlie Daniel-Hobbs, a local tory party activist would not be drawn on whether Maria Hutchings, the Eastleigh Conservative party spokesperson and Conservative candidate at the last election, would be the Conservative candidate for any forthcoming by-election.
“She has been working extremely hard, she’s very popular in the constituency,” he added.
He said of Mr Huhne: “Obviously Mr Huhne has committed quite a serious offence and he’s done absolutely the right thing in resigning.
“We’re looking forward to going out on the streets – it will be an interesting by-election and we’ll be fighting for every vote.”
He said he thought that the circumstances of the by-election would not sway many voters and that it would be fought on the current issues and what each party was offering.

2:24pm

Tracy Stephenson, 48, of Guest Road, Bishopstoke, said: “I can't complain about him as a person, he helped us out.
“At the end of the day you got to do what's right with your job.
“If he had come clean at the beginning we wouldn't be having this conversation.”

Daily Echo:

2:21pm

But retired Celia Newman, 70, of Hedge End, said he's done the right thing by resigning.

She said:“He just proved himself to be what a lot of politicians are - you can't trust them.

“So he's not done his profession any favours.”

Daily Echo:

2:18pm

Constituent Jenny Overson, in her 40s, of Hoddinott Road, Eastleigh, had nothing but priase for Huhne.

She said: “I'm really upset because he's a nice man.

“When I went to him to complain about something, a problem, he was really helpful, he did everything for me.”

Daily Echo:

1:48pm

Mr Olson added: “People don't respect members of parliament as much as they used to - this all makes people turn off politics when these things come to light.
“We used to respect members of parliament, they were held up as someone that you could go and meet and confide in, who you elected to represent you and you really do want to feel confident that their standards are as high as yours or better.
“In this case, he fell short of it.
“The people of Eastleigh will certainly feel let down.”

1:47pm

Cllr Godfrey Olson, leader of the Conservative Group in Eastleigh Borough Council, said: “I give him credit for resigning now, I think it would have been easier for everyone if he's resigned earlier.
“It's a pity it was allowed to drag on for so long.
“Perverting the course of justice is a serious thing for an MP - one has to uphold certain standards and certain dignity."
 

12:27pm

Lib Dem party leader Nick Clegg said he was ''shocked and saddened'' by Chris Huhne's guilty plea but said he had ''taken the right decision in resigning as an MP''.

11:56am

She stands as she is told to return to court on Tuesday.

11:56am

The trial of Huhne's ex wife Vicky Pryce  to begin tomorrow at 10am.

11:45am

11:43am

It has been a morning of high drama as Chris Huhne admitted perverting the course of justice, announced his resignation from the House of Commons and fought through a media scrum to leave the court.

Meanwhile, yet more court proceedings are due to take place today.

One couple has just come to ask Echo reporter Julian Robinson in court what all the fuss was about.

Julian said that it was Chris Huhne.

There were blank faces.

 "Who?" they replied.

 "Chris Huhne, the former energy secretary," said Julian.

"Never heard of him," came back the response.

11:40am

Huhne leaves court amid a frenzy of press activity.

Surrounded by photographers and cameraman as he reaches for the door or the black cab.

11:24am

Other Lib Dems in Eastleigh were  a little less forth coming.

Eastleigh North Cllr Chris Thomas (Lib Dem) said: “I have nothing to say on the subject.

“He's a nice guy, it's very sad. “He's been a good MP and that's all I can say.”

11:21am

Giving his reaction Eastleigh Borough Council leader Cllr Keith House said: “It's very sad, Chris has always been a very hard working MP in Eastleigh."


Mr House, who is also the leader of the Lib Dems on Hampshire Councy Council, added: “The sadness is that a brilliant political career looks like it's coming to an end on the basis of this case

"He said he did not anticipate any changes for Eastleigh politically as it has been a strong Liberal Democrat area and had seen nothing to suggest that would change."

11:20am

Speaking outside court, Chris Huhne said: “I have pleaded guilty today and I am unable to say more while there is an outstanding trial but having taken responsibility for something that happened ten years ago the only proper course of action for me to do right now is resign from my seat in Eastleigh and in parliament.

”That is all I'm able to say."

11:18am

Granting Huhne, whose father was also in court today, unconditional bail until a sentence date to be fixed, Mr Justice Sweeney told him: ''I will deal with your sentence on a date to be notified.

''It is essential that you attend, obviously, on that date.
''As Mr Kelsey-Fry (Huhne's barrister) has foreshadowed, you should have no illusions whatsoever as to the sort of sentence that you are likely to receive.''

11:00am

Mr Justice Sweeney tells Huhne it is "essential" he turns up to his sentencing, the date for which has yet to be set.

"You should be under no illusions whatsoever as to the sentence you are likely to receive," he tells the former energy secretary, the man who twice made bids to become the Liberal Democrat leader.

Huhne is currently in a court preparation room in discussions with his legal team.

10:51am

With the case adjourned, stunned reporters from every publication under the sun are still in disbelief at the unfolding drama.

10:39am

Mr Justice Sweeney told Huhne to stand and said he should have "no illusions whatsoever" as to the sort of sentence he could receive.

10:23am

His former wife Vicky Pryce denied a charge of perverting the course of justice.
Carina Trimingham, whom Huhne admitted having an affair with in 2010, ending his 26-year marriage to Pryce, was in the public gallery as he pleaded guilty to the perverting the course of justice charge.

The pair are pictured below arriving at court this morning.

 

Daily Echo:

10:21am

There were sharp intakes of breath in the public gallery as Chris Huhne changed his plea.

10:20am

Extraordinary turn of events at Southwark Crown Court. Huhne, wearing a dark suit and white shirt, stood in the dock to enter a guilty plea, the charges having been read to him again.

Mr Justice Sweeney is listening to legal submissions. Huhne and Vicky Pryce are listening in from the dock, sitting a seat apart.

10:15am

The Eastleigh MP changed his plea in the last few moments, having initially denied the charges.

He entered a not-guilty plea last week but this morning changed that decision.

10:12am

Chris Huhne pleads guilty to perverting the course of justice.

9:43am

Chris Huhne's lawyer John Kelsey-Fry QC arrives at court. Same lawyer who represented former Portsmouth and Saints boss Harry Redknapp.

9:42am

A pack of photographers assembled before 8am at Southwark Crown Court ahead of today's trial.

Dozens of reporters arrived as soon as the court opened to collect tickets for the proceedings.

Each news organisation is allocated two tickets each to sit in on the trial.

Currently queuing outside court 3 waiting for doors open.

Court usher has just informed press and public there will be a delay as the court room is "boiling hot". It had originally been listed for a 9.30am start.

9:42am

Good morning and welcome the Daily Echo's live coverage of the trial of Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce.

The former Cabinet minister and Vicky Pryce were both charged last year with perverting the course of justice over the allegation, said to relate to a speeding offence in 2003.

Pryce previously pleaded not guilty on the grounds of marital coercion and Huhne also entered a not guilty plea to the charge at a hearing last week.

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