Police look at allegations over Huhne's speed points

POLICE will decide this week whether to investigate claims that Cabinet minister Chris Huhne asked another person to take driving penalty points on his behalf for a speeding offence.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk has lodged a formal complaint with the Essex force over the allegations.

The Energy Secretary was not an MP at the time of the alleged incident and denied the claims when they were printed in newspapers last weekend.

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"We can confirm we have received an e-mail regarding a speeding offence in 2003," Essex Police said in a statement.

"This information will be passed to officers who will decide on whether an investigation will be launched.

"We take allegations such as this one extremely seriously, and will take action where necessary."

Police are expected to examine the case for an investigation today.

Mr Huhne was an MEP at the time of the alleged incident. There was no immediate comment from his office. However, he has previously said the allegations are untrue.

Yesterday, two newspapers claimed to have obtained a tape of a phone call in which the Energy Secretary allegedly warned the person who was said to have taken the points on his behalf not to talk to the press and let "the genie" out of the bottle.

A former journalist and City worker, Mr Huhne has been spoken of as a possible leader of the Liberal Democrat party - given the growing unpopularity of Nick Clegg.

Mr Huhne has twice run for the leadership, coming a close second to Mr Clegg in 2007.

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The election was fraught with allegations of dirty tricks and commentators say the relationship between Mr Huhne and the party leader continues to be strained.

Recently, Mr Huhne was an enthusiastic supporter of the Yes to AV campaign.

He attracted controversy for attacking anti-AV campaigners such as Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi.

He said: "If Baroness Warsi thinks that AV will benefit fascism she has to explain why the BNP wants to stick with what we have and Operation Black Vote supports AV.

"The BNP know the present system is their only chance of election. This is another example of the increasingly Goebbels-like campaign from the anti-AV people, for whom no lie is too idiotic given the truth is so unpalatable to them.

"AV makes lazy MPs work harder and reach out beyond their tribe. It is what Britain needs to clean up politics."

In 2003, Mr Huhne was banned from driving for three months after being caught speaking on his mobile phone while driving in London.

His wife took over responsibility for driving him during the ban period.If it is proven that he lied to the police about who was driving during the 2003 incident, he could face jail.

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Mr Huhne split from his wife of 26 years last year after it was revealed he was in a relationship with former spin doctor Carina Trimingham.