Huhne ‘welcomes’ police investigation into speeding row

By Ian Dunt

Chris Huhne has said that he welcomes a referral to the police over an ongoing row which is threatening to destroy his career.

The energy secretary is accused of asking someone else to take his penalty points for a speeding offence in 2001.

“All I want to say is simply that these allegations are simply incorrect,” he told the BBC.

“They have been made before and they have been shown to be untrue. I very much welcome the referral to the police as it will draw a line under the matter.

“I don’t want to any more than that. I think the police can get to the bottom of this.”

The prime minister’s spokesman said Mr Huhne retains the full confidence of David Cameron.

Questions were raised this morning as to whether Mr Huhne could continue to serve in Cabinet while being the subject of an ongoing police investigation, but Downing Street pointed out that Tony Blair had done precisely that when he was being investigated over the cash-for-honours affair.

“If there’s an investigation, there’s an investigation. But he denies it,” Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron said.

“Tony Blair remained prime minister while he was investigated, I imagine Chris Huhne can just about cope with being energy secretary.”

Labour MP Simon Danczuk asked the police to launch the investigation after the Sunday papers dedicated extensive coverage to the story.

The allegations are thought to come from Vicky Pryce, Mr Huhne’s estranged wife who he left for a younger woman last summer.

Essex Police said: “We are aware of allegations around a speeding offence which is believed to have occurred in 2003. A senior detective from the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate has been appointed to establish if this offence took place and the allegations around it.

“We take allegations such as this one extremely seriously and will take action where necessary.”

Mr Huhne was considered the front runner to replace Nick Clegg if the Lib Dem leader was forced to stand down but bookies have now rapidly altered their odds on his future career.

If he is forced to stand down, under-secretary of state at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Ed Davey would be widely expected to succeed him.