Sunday Times political editor: Vicky Pryce made speeding points admission over lunch - Press Gazette

Sunday Times political editor: Vicky Pryce made speeding points admission over lunch

Disgraced MP Chris Huhne's ex-wife confided in a political journalist over lunch about how he had got her to take his speeding points years before, a court has heard.

Isabel Oakeshott, political editor of The Sunday Times, said Vicky Pryce told her Huhne had pressurised her into taking the points, giving her a "fait accompli".

Oakeshott, who first met Pryce by chance at the Liberal Democrat party conference in 2010, shortly after her marriage to Huhne had broken down, went on to work with the economist to get the story published.

Giving evidence at Pryce's trial at Southwark Crown Court, Oakeshott said that as the pair discussed publishing the story in email conversations, it was clear to her that Pryce wanted to expose what she saw as her former husband's wrongdoing.

"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," she said. "I am very clear that she wanted to expose what she saw as his true character."

Oakeshott said that after meeting Pryce briefly at the party conference, she made arrangements to meet her for lunch.

"Vicky Pryce had been a senior government economist so she was interesting in her own right to me for her views on the economy," she said. "Secondly, she was at that time still married, although their relationship had disintegrated, to a cabinet minister, so I was interested in her relationship to him and how it had broken down.

"I met her for lunch in early March and we talked a bit about the breakdown of her marriage and during that conversation she mentioned to me towards the end of the meal that she had taken speeding points on behalf of her husband, she had been pressured to do that. Obviously that's a very serious allegation against a serving Government minister."

She said Pryce had made the allegation "slightly under her breath", and did not go into details, but mentioned it had happened in 2003.

Oakeshott said Pryce was concerned about how the story might impact on her. "She is a high-flying, professional woman who is clever enough to always have in mind her own reputation, and my hope was to get her to talk openly about what had happened, no ducking or diving."



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