Disgraced MP forced wife into abortion, court told

The disgraced former British Cabinet minister Chris Huhne was an arrogant bully who forced his ex-wife to have an abortion because he thought another child would be bad for his career, she told a court yesterday.

A tearful Vicky Pryce said that her former husband had been adamant in opposing her having a child 23 years ago and she felt that she had no choice but to terminate the pregnancy.

"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," she told a jury.

Pryce, 60, a mother of five, described the episode as she sought to explain how she bowed to pressure to take penalty points on Huhne's behalf for a speeding offence in 2003.

The former Energy Secretary pleaded guilty on Monday to perverting the course of justice, signalling the end of a political career in which he had missed becoming leader of the Liberal Democrats by a few hundred votes after years of campaigning.

During 2 hours in the witness box, Pryce painted a picture of Huhne as a hard-working and ruthlessly ambitious politician who thought he had few intellectual peers.

"I don't think there are a lot of people who he believes are his superiors," she told the court. "In fact, I can't think of anyone, intellectually."

She told how he put his ambitions ahead of his family as he sought to climb the political ladder.

Pryce, a talented and highly successful economist, claimed that her former husband believed he was "above the law" and bullied her into taking three points for her licence.

Pryce "exploded" when she learned that he had sent in a form nominating her as the person who was driving, but felt she had no choice but to sign up to the pact after he stood over her as she signed a police notice, she told the jury of eight women and four men.

Southwark Crown Court heard that in 2003 she told one of her Clapham neighbours, Constance Briscoe, a lawyer and part-time judge, about Huhne passing the points to her in that year.

But she only came forward and revealed his crime more than seven years later after the break-up of their 26-year marriage, when his affair with an aide, Carina Trimingham, was exposed in June 2010.

His confession came weeks after he was re-elected MP to Eastleigh after using campaign leaflets that showed their wedding picture and included the comment: "Family matters to me so much. Where would we be without it?"

- Independent

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