Christine Jardine: Public left disillusioned by Huhne

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IT WAS not what I expected to hear yesterday. Or any day for that matter.

Probably one of the brightest political careers of its generation has ended with a plea of guilty to perverting the course of justice. And over a speeding ticket. That is not to make light of what is an extremely serious issue and a legal process that must now be allowed to take its course.

But it is another reminder that none of us, even our most senior politicians, is above the law or can be treated differently. And I believe he has made the right decision in announcing his resignation.

My path never directly crossed that of Chris Huhne, but over the past decade he is someone I respected and admired for his contribution.

However, as I watched his statement I found that my biggest sadness was not for his lost career, but for the many people in his Eastleigh constituency who worked hard to make him an MP in the first place. The media will pronounce about what the consequences could be for the Liberal Democrats, for the coalition and even the Conservative Party and their post-referendum promise relationship with Ukip.

They will ask whether in this post-expenses scandal era the standards we expect from our public figures have again failed to be met. And those of us directly involved in politics know the reality is that the next time we knock on a door to ask someone for their vote they may be that little more disillusioned with all of us.

• Christine Jardine is a former Lib Dem special adviser to the UK government.