VICKY Pryce was shocked and horrified, and “wanted to turn the clock back”, when the story about Chris Huhne getting someone to take his speeding points hit the headlines, she told a court today.
The former Cabinet minister’s ex-wife said she felt “ashamed and upset” when the story appeared on the front page of the Sunday Times on May 8 2011, and wanted nothing more to do with it.
It later emerged that it was Pryce who had taken the points. Huhne finally admitted lying about the matter this week, but his former wife denies perverting the course of justice, claiming marital coercion.
Pryce, 60, who yesterday revealed that Huhne once bullied her into having an abortion, told Southwark Crown Court he made her take the points in a “fait accompli” in 2003.
She first revealed the offence to Sunday Times political editor Isabel Oakeshott over a lunch many years later, in March 2011.
Pryce said today that the revelation got Ms Oakeshott “excited” as she planned how to run the story in the newspaper.
The pair agreed that the claims would be made through an interview with Pryce, and an agreement was put in place in a bid to protect the economist.
But Pryce told the court today that she was shocked and horrified to see the story on the front page, and that it included details which could reveal her as the person who took the points.
“I felt actually that I was already being exposed,” she said.
“I was a bit shocked and horrified and of course started worrying very significantly about the whole process that led to this article.
“So in many ways I just wanted to turn the clock back and not have anything to do with it.”
She added: “I was quite shocked about the way that the information had come out and I was beginning to feel that actually I had been perhaps manipulated in a way and that things had probably been pushed too far.”
She told the court she decided not to deal with the Sunday Times again after that.
“I had actually been quite upset about the front page and also in the end the article coming out because clearly there was already a lot of interest from the press and I felt actually pretty bad and really not happy with having been involved in any of this.
“Mostly I felt I wished really to have nothing to do with it if I could and felt quite ashamed and upset.”