Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne has split from his wife of 26 years for another woman.

The newly appointed Lib Dem energy and climate change secretary, who played a major role in negotiations to form a coalition government, is separating from wife Vicky because of a ''serious relationship'' with another woman, he said today.

''I am in a serious relationship with Carina Trimingham and I am separating from my wife,'' the senior Liberal Democrat MP announced.

The multi-millionaire, a former journalist who wrote for national newspapers, went on to work as a city economist before moving into politics.

Mr Huhne confirmed the split from his high-flyer economist wife Vicky Pryce this afternoon. They had married in 1984.

The couple have three children together plus two more from Ms Pryce’s previous marriage.

Mr Huhne, 56, was elected MP for Eastleigh in 2005 and extended his majority in the general election in May.

Ms Trimingham, a former journalist who works in PR, was part of Mr Huhne's campaign team when he took on Nick Clegg for the party leadership in 2007.