'Rubbish' that Huhne's wife not co-operating with police

Michael Crick
Political editor, Newsnight

Contrary to a report on the front page of today's Daily Telegraph, Chris Huhne's estranged wife Vicky Pryce is co-operating with Essex police, according to a reliable source.

Essex police this week interviewed both the energy secretary and Vicky Pryce over allegations that Huhne got his wife to take the points for a speeding offence on the M11 in March 2003.

Under the headline "Huhne's ex-wife refuses to confirm points claim", the Telegraph today said Pryce had refused to tell the police in her interview whether or not she took points for the offence.

I hear that Vicky Pryce is "irritated" by the Telegraph report, and that "it's rubbish that she's not co-operating."

And, in response to the statement by a spokesman for Chris Huhne, to the Telegraph, that he "looks forward to an early resolution of this issue", I was told that: "He'll be bloody lucky!"

I have also been given more details of the speeding offence on 12 March 2003. Huhne's car was photographed, I am told, by a speed camera at around 11.20pm on the night in question, on a southbound section of the M11 close to London.

It has widely been suggested that Huhne had flown that evening from Strasbourg to Stansted, on a Ryanair flight which Civil Aviation Authority records show arrived at 10.23pm.

The dispute is whether Huhne drove himself home from Stansted, or whether his wife went to collect him.

Vicky Pryce is known to have addressed a seminar at the LSE that evening, which started at 6.30pm, and witnesses recall that she then attended a dinner for participants at the LSE seminar which went on until 10pm.

The big question is what time Pryce left the dinner. To have driven from the LSE to Stansted, collected her husband, and then to have been clocked on the southbound M11 near to London, she would have had to have left the dinner early, and well before 10pm.

It has also been suggested that the text of this document may well appear in Sunday papers this weekend.

It is not accurate, I am assured, to say that Vicky Pryce has provided any newspaper with an affidavit, signed statement, or sworn confession. I understand, however, that she may have signed an agreement pledging to back the newspaper in court if they were subject to subsequent legal action.