Chris Huhne to be prosecuted: full statement
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne is to be charged over allegations he persuaded his ex-wife to accept his speeding points in 2003 so he would not face a driving ban. This is the full statement by the Crown Prosecution Service and a series of letters between the prime minister and Mr Huhne.
CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE STATEMENT
This statement is made by the Crown Prosecution Service in the interests of transparency and accountability to explain the decisions reached in the cases of Mr Christopher Huhne and Ms Vasiliki Pryce and to explain the time taken in arriving at these decisions.
A criminal complaint was made to Essex Police in May 2011, alleging that Ms Pryce had accepted responsibility for a speeding offence committed by Mr Huhne in 2003.
That complaint was investigated by Essex Police and a file was passed to the CPS in late July 2011.
The CPS advised that further investigations should be made, including obtaining certain material from a national newspaper.
Those further investigations were made and, in October 2011, an order was made for the newspaper to produce material to the police.
The newspaper appealed that order, as it was entitled to do, but subsequently consented to producing the material in question just before the appeal was due to be heard, on 20 January this year.
All the available evidence, including the new material, has now been carefully considered by the CPS and we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce for perverting the course of justice.
The essence of the charges is that between March and May 2003, Mr Huhne, having allegedly committed a speeding offence, falsely informed the investigating authorities that Ms Pryce had been the driver of the vehicle in question, and she falsely accepted that she was the driver.
Accordingly, summonses against both Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce have been obtained from Westminster Magistrates' Court and those summonses will now be served on them.
They are due to appear in court on 16 February this year.
The decision in this case was taken by Mr Rene Barclay, a senior and very experienced prosecutor, in consultation with Sue Hemming, the Head of Special Crime Division and in consultation with me as DPP.
Can I remind all concerned that Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce now stand charged with criminal offences and that they each have a right to a fair trial.
It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice their trial.
CHRIS HUHNE LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER
This letter is to submit with much regret my resignation as Energy and Climate Change Secretary. I intend to mount a robust defence against the charges brought against me, and I have concluded that it would be distracting both to that effort and to my official duties if I were to continue in office.
It has been an honour to negotiate and then serve in the first coalition government of modern times which has substantial achievements both in reducing the economic dangers faced by our country, and in making progress with policies to tackle climate change and provide energy security.
Internationally, we have helped to build a coalition of ambitious countries in Europe and beyond to put the United Nations process back on track.
It has been a privilege to be a minister in the coalition government, and I wish the administration every success with the environmental and economic challenges that lie ahead.
LETTER FROM THE PRIME MINISTER TO CHRIS HUHNE
Thank you for your letter informing me of your decision to resign from the Government. I believe you have made the right decision under the circumstances.
You have made a very significant contribution to the Government, of which you can be justly proud.
You were a member of the team which negotiated the formation of the Coalition Government between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats in those crucial days after the General Election, with our shared commitment to come together as two distinct political parties and govern in the national interest.
As Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, you have led the Government's efforts to live up to its responsibility to tackle climate change with great passion and distinction.
You played a key role in securing the progress made at the Cancun and Durban summits, and I pay tribute to the leadership you showed at both.
You have been determined to deliver on our pledge that this should be the greenest Government ever, recognising that cutting carbon emissions is not a luxury but a necessity. And you have relentlessly championed green growth.
Thank you too for the important contribution you have made as a member of the National Security Council since its inception, not only on security of our energy supply, but also in our discussions on Afghanistan, and during the Libya campaign.
Like the Deputy Prime Minister, I am sorry to see you leave the Government under these circumstances and wish you well for the future.