Chris Huhne's ex-wife Vicky Pryce pleads not guilty

image captionMr Huhne, right, and Ms Pryce were married for 26 years before splitting in 2010

Vicky Pryce, the ex-wife of Chris Huhne, has pleaded not guilty to taking the former energy secretary's penalty points for a 2003 speeding offence.

The Eastleigh Lib Dem MP did not enter a plea because he will try to dismiss the charge against him at a future hearing, Southwark Crown Court heard.

The pair, who were married for 26 years, face charges of perverting the course of justice.

A date for the trial, due to last up to two weeks, has been set for 2 October.

Mr Huhne's car was allegedly caught speeding by a camera on the motorway between Stansted Airport, Essex, and London in March 2003.

Mr Huhne, who left the cabinet to fight accusations that he had persuaded Ms Pryce to falsely admit to speeding, appeared alongside his ex-wife at Friday's plea and case management hearing.

The pair - who were both released on unconditional bail until a pre-trial hearing likely to be set for a date next month - did not make eye contact with each other.

The court heard that Ms Pryce would use the defence of marital coercion when the case comes to trial.

The accusations emerged only in 2010 after Mr Huhne had admitted an affair with his PR adviser, Carina Trimingham, and ended his marriage.

The decision to prosecute Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce followed an eight-month investigation by Essex Police.

Mr Huhne is being represented by John Kelsey Fry QC, the barrister who successfully defended Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp against tax evasion accusations.

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