Ex-wife claims Huhne forced her into abortion

Isabel Oakeshott: she said Ms Pryce was constantly on the verge of tears.

Isabel Oakeshott: she said Ms Pryce was constantly on the verge of tears.

Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 00:00

Chris Mr Huhne’s ex-wife told a court yesterday that he pressurised her into having an abortion, as she described him bullying her into taking his speeding points.

Vicky Pryce claimed the former British 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 Mr 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.” Ms Pryce, who married Mr 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 pressurise her to take the points. Ms Pryce alleges she originally resisted his demands, then discovered he had nominated her as the driver when a letter arrived.

Forced to sign

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 Mr Huhne waited with a pen, telling her she must sign. “It looked like a complete fait accompli for me and for him.”

Ms Pryce said Mr Huhne announced during half-time of a world cup football match in June 2010 that he had been having an affair, ending their 26-year marriage.

He had been caught by a newspaper so he confessed, drafted a press statement, then left for the gym without any apology, she said.

Ms Pryce said she was left “fragile and depressed” and believed stories suggesting their marriage was over anyway was an attempt to rewrite history.

She was introduced to Sunday Times political editor Isabel Oakeshott at the Lib Dem conference and the pair met for lunch on March 1st, 2011, where Ms Pryce revealed she had been pressurised into taking Mr Huhne’s points in 2003.

In email conversations, the pair planned how to run the story as Ms Pryce voiced her desire to “nail” her ex-husband and tried unsuccessfully to record him confessing. They agreed the allegations would be put to Ms Pryce in an interview as Westminster rumours.

“Vicky was a very, very hurt woman and she was quite clear that she felt that Chris, her former husband, did not deserve to be in the position of immense responsibility that he had at that time,” Ms Oakeshott said.

She said Ms Pryce seemed “constantly on the verge of tears”, adding: “It was an extraordinary contrast between a tough, successful, professional woman wearing a suit and high heels, beautifully presented, but that seemed to be armour for her.”

The case continues. – (PA)