It’s just over a year since Chris Huhne and his former wife Vicky Pryce were charged with perverting the course of justice and Chris Huhne resigned from the Cabinet. Today, as the case came to trial, Chris Huhne dramatically changed his plea, only entered for the first time last week, to guilty.
This means that he will be sentenced some time after the conclusion of the proceedings against Pryce. He said that he would be stepping down as an MP.
I am not going to say too much about the incident concerned as it’s still the subject of a criminal trial. I do want to say a couple of things about my Lib Dem colleagues though.
It pained me to see Olly Grender apologise to Guido Fawkes for defending Huhne. Olly is a decent, fair-minded person who was clearly abiding by the principles of innocent until proven guilty. Guido today published a photo of Huhne with rifle sights superimposed on him, and is gloating about this a lot too much.
Nobody who defended Huhne should feel that they have anything to apologise for. They did what was fair and right at the time, in good faith.
The fantastic team of councillors and campaigners we have in Eastleigh have bucked all the trends over the last few years. They have made gains when we’ve taken big hits in other parts of the country.
They are bound to feel a sense of shock today but their hard work over decades has laid a very solid foundation that is not centred on one person alone. There is a formidable team of councillors and campaigners who are well liked and respected. Chris Huhne, elected in 2005, was a relative latecomer to a well established fighting force.
For all his flaws, nobody can doubt that he was a very hard working local MP who got on very well with the local team. Council leader Keith House acknowledged his work as MP earlier today. I would put a link but am on a train with very dodgy wifi and intermittent 3G.
House leads a team that puts maximum effort into everything they do. I have a great deal of faith in them. Today will not be an easy day for them. They won’t wallow, though and the best thing any of us can do to support them is to offer them our help on the doorsteps of Eastleigh in the months to come.