independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Disgraced ex-MP forced wife to have abortion, court hears

Vicky Pryce had “no choice” in accepting the demands of ex-husband Chris Huhne

CHRIS Huhne's tearful ex-wife told a court that the disgraced former British cabinet minister forced her to have an abortion because having another child would have been "bad for his career".

Vicky Pryce broke down in the witness box as she described how she had regretted terminating the healthy pregnancy ever since.

In an emotionally charged account of how her marriage disintegrated, she said Huhne was already having an affair when they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and may have had a second mistress earlier.

Ms Pryce (60), a prominent economist, accidentally became pregnant in 1990, when she and the former Lib-Dem MP had been married for six years.

However, Huhne, who was then a journalist but had political ambitions, made her get a termination. Choking with emotion, Ms Pryce told the jury: "I got accidentally pregnant and obviously wanted to keep the baby because it was healthy. He absolutely resisted it, saying it was bad timing, bad financially, bad for his career to be tied down again. Despite my protestations, he actually got me to have an abortion, which I have regretted ever since."

A series of claims by Ms Pryce about Mr Huhne's behaviour during their 26-year marriage emerged yesterday, on the second day of her trial at London's Southwark Crown Court for perverting the course of justice by accepting her ex-husband's speeding points in 2003.

She said the former Energy Secretary, who is facing jail after pleading guilty to the same charge on Monday, regarded everyone as his intellectual inferior and put his political career before his family.

Ms Pryce described how she was against him becoming an MEP because of the effect it would have on their home life, and she had to change her own high-flying job to fit around their five children.

Asked to describe Huhne's role in their household, she said: "Absent, mainly. I could understand it because he had all these things to do and arrange. But it was a very strained period."

The couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 2009, but Ms Pryce later discovered Huhne was already having an affair with Carina Trimingham, a bisexual aide.

She added that she learned from newspaper reports that Huhne had another mistress before he was elected MP for Eastleigh in 2005.

Ms Pryce said that after the marriage ended, several of their children broke off contact with their father, and one son even changed his name to remove the association with Huhne.

Speaking about the speeding offence, Ms Pryce said she came downstairs to find Huhne standing with a pen in his hand, demanding she sign a form saying she was guilty of his speeding offence, a court heard.

She said she had "absolutely no choice" but to do what her then-husband was asking.

Southwark Crown Court heard Huhne was clocked speeding on the M11 in Essex on March 12, 2003.

Ms Pryce, from Clapham, south London, denies perverting the course of justice and is using the defence of marital coercion, whereby wives can claim that they were deprived of their freedom to choose by their husbands. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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