Chris Huhne case speeds to conclusion

 

By tomorrow morning Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, could find himself speeding out of the Cabinet.

Just before 1000 GMT his solicitor will be informed by the Crown Prosecution Service of the decision they have reached about whether to prosecute him and his former wife, Vicky Pryce, over allegations that he persuaded her to take speeding points on his behalf and, thereby, avoid a driving ban.

That decision will then be broadcast and explained on camera.

I understand that the prime minister and the deputy prime minister have already consulted the cabinet secretary about what to do in the event that charges are brought. They have concluded that Mr Huhne could not continue as a member of the government.

Of course, if no charges are brought Chris Huhne will continue in his job.

He has always denied any wrongdoing and he and his legal team have always been confident that he will avoid prosecution.

Some think that the fact that a news conference has been called suggests that charges will be brought. I disagree.

Whatever its decision the CPS will want to be very clear in public about why they have acted in the way they have, just as they were at the end of the cash for honours investigation into Tony Blair's government.

* If Huhne is forced out of the Cabinet I expect Ed Davey to replace him and Norman Lamb to take Davey's place in the Business Department

Update: I've just been checking the precedents for the CPS announcing in advance that they are making an on-camera statement and for the DPP himself delivering it. The Crown Prosecution Service did make an on camera statement when they decided not to bring prosecutions in the cash for honours. It was, though, not the Director of Public Prosecutions himself who made the announcement. The news emerged the day before - I reported the fact that there would not be prosecutions the day before on the BBC News at Ten and on my blog. The last time the DPP made an on-camera statement was when manslaughter charges were brought against a police officer over the death of Ian Tomlinson last May. He also made the announcements on the decisions relating to the MPs' expenses scandal.

Update 16:31 Thursday: Nick Clegg signalled his approach to Chris Huhne in his interview with the Andrew Marr Show on 22nd January 2012. "Obviously the Cabinet Secretary as the sort of arbiter of these things can provide advice, and the prime minister and myself and others would need to take a view. But we as a government want the highest standards of probity to be in place in everything that is done by cabinet members"

 
Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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