Not long now…
Not long now…
Last week Huhne said to Laura Kuenssberg that the allegations against him “were incorrect”, had been “made before and shown to be untrue”, and that’s all he would like to say on the matter. Yesterday, he was cornered by Channel4 News, and despite being presented with new evidence, he gave the identical statement:
The police are going to want a little bit more detail than that Chris. And Guido doesn’t recommend you laugh in that interview…
Downing Street source says…
“If Huhne was a Tory he would have gone already.”
Note Hague smiling and laughing when asked about Huhne. During the general election campaign Huhne called Hague “completely unfit to be Foreign Secretary”. If you sit by the river long enough, the corpse of your enemy will float by…
UPDATE: Even the usually Pravda-like LibDemVoice has deserted Huhne. Wow!
The Sunday Times claim that Huhne is willing to accept he may have been behind the wheel when that speeding offence took place. Which is odd, given that last week he said that the allegations were “simply incorrect” and “untrue”. Huhne is now backtracking and it looks to Guido like he might be trying to avoid a jail sentence.
He can explain it all, under caution, to Essex Police this week.
The Sunday Telegraph claim Vicky Pryce will tell the police that Huhne forced another female close to him to take points on another occasion. They also speculate that Huhne’s lawyers will put the onus on the police to prove it was Huhne driving. That shouldn’t be too hard given Pryce’s alibi and unfortunately, for Chris, Ryanair claim they are willing to cooperate with the investigation by handing over the passenger lists from that fateful night in March 2003.
The Mail on Sunday have some shocking news. Vicky Pryce’s licence is clean, bar three expired points for a speeding offence. On March 12, 2003.
After three weeks this scandal has got deeper rather than gone away. The Secretary of State has been distracted with this fight for his political life and unable to properly fulfil his job. He’s now fatally changed his story.
How long before he realises the game is up…
Another tape has surfaced that could hang Huhne. Two former LibDem councillors from his Eastleigh constituency have recorded Huhne’s agent apparently admitting they overspent above the legal election limits at the last election by £10,000. The Sunlight Centre was working on Huhne’s election expenses last summer, but hit a brick wall when Huhne, and his agent, refused to cooperate with any investigation. Last July Guido wrote:
…there are some serious questions involving interesting invoicing practices, possibly designed to hide the true cost of printing. You can read some of the background to the Sunlight Centre’s investigation here, but essentially the invoices for Huhne’s leaflets are from the “Itchen Valley Printing Society”, who mysteriously share his constituency office. The material produced, however, was in reality printed by Park Communications Limited. Park is an interesting organisation that is very, very close to the Liberal Democrats – their chief exec hosts events with the head of the LibDem campaigns department.
Huhne’s tight re-election spending was dodgy, as was the deafening silence as soon as it was probed. The Sunlight Centre never got a reply to this letter to Anne Winstanley, Huhne’s agent, which is no surprise now, given she was apparently going round telling people they overspent, and this letter had worked out how:
Finally now the Electoral Commission is investigating. Full background for Sunday paper Huhnters can be found here.
LibDem sources are starting to twist the knife:
‘The conventional wisdom is that Huhne will end up having to go. He is being highly reckless in taking it to the wire like this. Chris clearly doesn’t think they will find the evidence. He wants to brazen it out. He is brazen. That’s what he does.”
The Mail is reporting this afternoon that Carina Trimingham was not the first mistress Huhne had. That should keep Vicky Pryce on the warpath…
UPDATE 17.38: Essex Police have just confirmed they are launching a formal investigation. Essex Police statement:
“An investigation is ongoing in relation to the circumstances surrounding the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice in 2003. It would be inappropriate for the police to discuss this matter any further in order to avoid prejudicing the investigation. Essex Police request that the press are mindful of this in their reporting.”
Last night Chris Huhne contacted Essex Police offering to help in their investigation in anyway he can. According to Alastair Campbell’s old rule, Chris is trying to take the initiative and a get a grip on this story ten days too late. This is going to drag on until the weekend…
The DVLA have confirmed that records are only kept as far back as 2006, though Guido understands the coppers are still confident they can ascertain what happened back in 2003 from their end. He suspects Huhne is betting otherwise…
UPDATE : There is a rumour going round that Vicky Pryce has already spoken with the Essex Police. Nigel Farage has definitely spoken to Essex Police. They will be speaking to Huhne next week. Presumably under caution…
Essex Police have just announced that they will be interviewing the “key individuals” over allegations that Huhne tried to evade punishment for speeding. That would be him and his soon to be ex-wife then.
Michael Crick speculates that Clegg could have been on the same plane that night, and Guido has found the speed camera. Senior LibDems knew about the allegations years ago. How deep was the cover-up? Perhaps the police might like to call Clegg as a witness if he was on the plane…
Huhne was looking chipper and smiling when he snuck in late to PMQs. And no wonder, Ken Clarke’s mealy-mouthed mess today has given Huhne huge amounts of cover when he would have been the biggest political story for another day.
But he’s back up the agenda now…
UPDATE: The full statement from Detective Superintendent Tim Wills, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate:
“There are many lines of inquiry to be taken and the team are still working to establish if an offence has been committed. Obviously, this will entail speaking to key individuals identified by the enquiry team. It would not be appropriate to release any more information prior to progressing these lines of enquiry.”
I'm told Essex Police contacted Nigel Farage over Chris Huhne speeding allegations. Farage told them he couldn't be sure he was on flight—
(@sophyridge) May 18, 2011
That’s not to say the old bill can’t check the flight records.
On Huhne – Essex police source tells me they think there may still be evidence on record relating to alleged speeding offence in 2003—
Laura Kuenssberg (@BBCLauraK) May 18, 2011
‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello…
Ever keen to help out in the Huhne investigation, Guido would just like to point out that there is only one speed camera on the Southbound M11. It’s at Loughton where the three lanes converge into two. You would drive past it on the way back from Stansted airport…
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Nigel Farage hits the nail on the head:
“This olive oil ban was virgin on the ridiculous.”
Ned Flanders – Clegg
Lisa Simpson – Natalie Bennett
Milhouse – Hilary Benn
Martin Prince – Andy Burnham
Edna Krabappel – Luciana Berger
Crazy Cat Lady – Glenda jackson
Comic book guy – John Prescott
Carl – Chucka
Lenny – Philip Hammond
Willie – Eric joyce
Poochie – Gordon Brown
Reverend Lovejoy – Tony Blair