FORMER MP Chris Huhne’s first day in Wandsworth Prison in England took a predictably confrontational turn after a warder allegedly ridiculed him while making a breakfast call via a Tannoy system.
According to reports, the prison officer mimicked the Speaker of the British House of Commons John Bercow by declaring: “Order, order…the right honourable member for Wandsworth North – down to the office”.
The message was apparently heard throughout the prison, with The Sun reporting that the 58-year-old former Cabinet minister had to walk past walk past dozens of inmates roaring with laughter as he went off to collect his morning meal.
The newspaper also claimed that Huhne had been placed on a wing for vulnerable prisoners after inmates found out he was a millionaire and began harassing him for money.
It reported the unnamed wife of one prisoner as saying inmates see Huhne as a “soft touch”, which has led to him having a number of people “after him”.
She apparently went on to say that although Huhne has not been assaulted in any way, she believes he has asked warders to intervene and move him to a part of the prison usually reserved for sex offenders, police informers and others in danger of attack.
According to the Mirror, the fear and humiliation Huhne suffered on his first day in prison may not be new to him however, after it was revealed he had previously shared a cell with a convicted murderer after being arrested as a teenager over a car accident in Greece.
Huhne was reportedly held for three days following the car accident, before he was cleared of any wrongdoing and released.
In an interview shortly before being sent to prison, Huhne apparently said: “I visited prisons when I was Shadow Home Secretary… And I had a brief experience many, many years ago being locked up in a foreign prison when I was involved in a car crash (vehicles seem to have something in my life) and I was on remand for a period, not knowing when I would be let out.”
Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce were handed eight-month jail sentences at Southwark Crown Court in London on Monday for perverting the course of justice when Pryce took speeding points for Huhne in 2003.
Jailing the pair, Mr Justice Sweeney said Huhne had fallen from a “great height”, and Pryce from a “considerable height”.
Economist Pryce, 60, was convicted after a retrial last week, while Huhne pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial last month after denying the offence for nearly two years.
The former energy secretary, who once had ambitions for the Lib Dem leadership, was the first former Cabinet minister since Jonathan Aitken to be jailed.
The Sun reported that Pryce spent a “nervous” first day in Holloway prison in north London.
Postman Robert Brown told the newspaper a friend he had visited in the jail told him he had spotted Pryce, who is a mother-of-five.
“My friend said she was very scruffy and looked really nervous,” he told the newspaper.
- John Hall, Independent.co.uk