Over at the Guardian’s broadcast arm, Ian Katz has given increasingly unhinged criminal homewrecker Chris Huhne free rein on Newsnight. It is definitely worth watching in full:
Let it go Chris, it’s over…
Huhne is trying to paint himself as the victim of the Murdoch press because he called for a hacking inquiry from the frontbench, blaming everyone but himself for his own misdemeanours once again this morning. Huhne has used his time inside to work out who caused the end of the marriage (Rupert Murdoch) and who led to him being sent down (Rupert Murdoch):
“The News of the World sparked the end of my marriage, but another Murdoch title, the Sunday Times, then groomed my ex-wife until she told them about the speeding points. The political editor bought dinners, sent flowers, offered breaks at smart hotels, and reassured her that she would not face any unpleasant consequences (such as prison).
Four successive weeks as the splash in the Sunday Times ensured our joint prosecution. The Crown Prosecution Service loves a celebrity trial. It was the end of my political career, and it locked up my ex-wife too. She was just another “burned contact” for the Murdoch press.”
Bear in mind that the original Carina-affair story had a public interest angle because he put pictures of his family on his election leaflets (above). Murdoch cunningly got the affair story and the picture into the News of the World’s bitter rival the Sunday People, then got the Sunday Times’ rival Mail on Sunday to first make the running on the speeding points story after forcing Huhne to pervert the course of justice. He is delusional if he thinks this was a Murdoch-press conspiracy. The Sunday Times’ editor John Witherow really was not convinced the story would lead anywhere, the political editor Isabel Oakeshott had a hard time convincing Witherow the story had legs, most journalists believed that there would never be enough evidence to get Huhne charged. Only when the police raided the family home and got the evidence of the text messages did many in Fleet Street finally believe there was a chance he could be convicted. The CPS were very wary of charging a cabinet minister, they asked the police to get more evidence when they first came back with a dossier saying they had a case. Huhne’s enemies in the media – like this blog – detested him for personal and ideological reasons…
First it was his bisexual former aide turned girlfriend’s action against the Mail, then the attempts to get his trial thrown out and now Chris Huhne has lost his legal bid against the Mail, Mirror, Telegraph, Sun and Sunday Mirror for publishing of photographs of him in prison. The PCC have told the former jailbird where to go. With all these legal bills, Guido hopes Chris won’t be forced to sell one of his seven houses…
What next for Vicky Pryce? She’s been signed up by Biteback to publish her prison diaries, billed as “a very personal book examining prison life, but also a hardhitting economic analysis of the cost to the economy of keeping women in prison”. It will be called ‘Prisonomics’.
Released this morning after serving eight weeks of an eight month sentence.
Huhne has some nerve, offering to cough up just £25,000 of the £110,000 asked for by the prosecution in legal costs. Given that his lies cost the taxpayer over £300,000, once again Huhne is sticking two fingers up at those he used to represent. Guido hopes he enjoys his day out from prison…
UPDATE: Huhne and Pryce are expected to be released after two months, with Pryce being let out on May 12 having served just a quarter of her sentence.
UPDATE II: Huhne could be out as soon as May 13.
UPDATE III: The following may be reported:
“In the course of the submissions made on behalf of Christopher Huhne that he should not be responsible for the entirety of the prosecutions costs application against him, the court was referred to the applications he made for witness summonses that resulted in documentation relating to Constance Briscoe coming to light, which led to allegations being made against her.”
A parking ticket on her first visit to HMP Wandsworth. And no one to swap it with…
Guido has been busy crunching some large taxpayer-shaped numbers this morning. After Clegg suggested Huhne should “pay amends” for his crime, by Guido’s calculation the bill comes to over £330,000.
Huhne took his MP’s salary for the year and a day after he quit as a minister, also pocketing a £17,000 severance payment. Using the average cost of recent by-elections, Eastleigh is estimated to have left the taxpayer with a £95,000 bill. The CPS say the cost of investigating and prosecuting Chris and Vicky reached £117,599, while the average national cost of imprisoning criminals puts Huhne and Pryce’s stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure at almost £40,000. A grand total of £333,472…
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Sarah Vine writes of Esther McVey…
“McVey told Grazia that she hasn’t married or had children because she ‘never found anyone to wind her biological clock’ … If I remember rightly, half the current Cabinet would have cheerfully ‘wound her clock’ if she’d given them a glimmer of a chance.”