Europe

Sunday 13 July 2014

Huhne 'pressed wife for abortion'

Published 07/02/2013|12:06

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Vicky Pryce is on trial at Southwark Crown Court accused of perverting the course of justice

Chris Huhne's ex-wife has told a court that he pressured her into having an abortion, as she described him bullying her into taking his speeding points.

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Vicky Pryce claimed the former energy secretary pressurised her into taking the points, presenting her with a "fait accompli". The mother-of-five, who denies perverting the course of justice by taking Huhne's speeding points in 2003, told Southwark Crown Court she accidentally fell pregnant in 1990.

"That particular incident is one where I got accidentally pregnant and obviously wanted to keep the baby... because it was healthy - in fact, I quite like babies, that's why I have so many," she said. "He absolutely resisted it, saying it was bad timing, bad financially, bad for his career to be tied down again. And despite my protestations, he got me to have an abortion, which I have regretted ever since."

Athens-born Pryce, who married Huhne in 1983, said he was often "absent" due to his pursuit of a political career and she was forced to compromise her own career to look after their children.

The speeding offence linked to the points-swapping scandal in 2003 came at a time when he was working to be nominated as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Eastleigh, prompting him to pressure her to take the points.

Pryce alleges she originally resisted his demands then discovered he had nominated her as the driver when a letter arrived. She told the court: "I exploded... I said 'I am not doing this, I am not signing anything, these are not my points.'"

A few days later she said she was called downstairs where Huhne waited with a pen, telling her she must sign. "It looked like a complete fait accompli for me and for him. I had been worn down over a period of time and it looked to me like it was the only thing I could possibly do. It didn't look to me like I had any choice at all in the matter so I took this pen and signed, protesting all the time, but I did it."

She said she had confided in 2003 in friend Constance Briscoe, a lawyer and part-time judge, about taking the points, and described how the "morally repugnant" issue remained a bone of contention between her and Huhne for years afterwards.

Pryce, 60, told how Huhne announced he had been having an affair during half time of a world cup football match in June 2010, ending their 26-year marriage. He had been caught by a newspaper so confessed, drafted a press statement, then left for the gym without any apology, she said.

A "shocked" Pryce said at first she thought it was "preposterous" that his mistress was PR adviser Carina Trimingham as she was a lesbian in a civil partnership. Pryce said she was left "fragile and depressed" and believed stories suggesting their marriage was over anyway was an attempt to rewrite history. The case at Southwark Crown Court was adjourned.

Press Association

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