Chris Huhne And Vicky Pryce Get Eight Months The former Cabinet minister says he is “sorry” as he and his economist ex-wife prepare to start prison sentences in London.
Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce have each been jailed for eight months for lying about a speeding offence committed a decade ago.
The judge informed the Cabinet that minister and his ex wife were working together in deciding to pervert the course of justice when she agreed to take his speeding points.
Mr Justice Sweeney told the pair that any element of tragedy “is entirely your own fault” as he sentenced them both in turn in front of a packed courtroom at London’s Southwark Crown Court.
The pair sat a few feet from each other in the dock but did not look at each other and remained passive as first Huhne and then Pryce learned their fates.
Pryce, he said, had shown a “controlling, manipulative and devious” side to her character by pleading not guilty.
Huhne apologised in comments published shortly after the sentencing.
He told the Guardian: “I am sorry. I want to say that to family, to friends, to constituents and to colleagues, and more broadly to everybody who cares passionately about the causes I care about, including saving the planet for our children and our grandchildren.”
He also defended himself against claims that he was a bully, made by Pryce during her trial.
He said: “Anyone who knows me knows I am not a bully and that I don’t bully people. My reputation is not that.
“It is true I may be prepared to say harsh things to people who are my own size or bigger than me. But I am very proud that I am not the kind of person that behaves like that to anyone who is not in a position to respond.”
Huhne said he hopes to “heal” relationships with his children, which have been damaged by the scandal.
He said: “I feel awful that so many people I love have been dragged into this. It has been a gruelling experience for all of them to be subject to this media harassment and intrusion. They need time and space to get over this.
“I am least hopeful that the relationships with my children that suffered most at the time of the breakup and divorce can be slowly healed, and some of them are slowly healing. That, for me, is the most encouraging thing that can come out of all this.”
The politician had battled for months to have the case thrown out but finally admitted his guilt just as the joint trial was due to start last month.
Pryce claimed Huhne had forced her to take the points and went on to be tried alone but she was convicted after a retrial last week.
During the case, it emerged she had tipped off the press about the deception in the wake of their split in order to “nail” Huhne and ruin his career.
The wreckage of their marriage was laid bare in court, and bitter text messages between Huhne and his youngest son Peter were also revealed.
In her evidence, Pryce claimed the politician had forced her to have an abortion in the 90s and tried to again when she later became pregnant with Peter.
Huhne, once tipped as a future Lib Dem leader, follows other fallen politicians including Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer in being sent to jail.