DISGRACED MP Chris Huhne pressured his ex-wife into having an abortion because it was “bad timing”, she told a court today.
Vicky Pryce said she fell pregnant in 1990 while married to the former energy secretary, but he encouraged her to terminate the pregnancy.
Pryce is giving evidence at Southwark Crown Court, in London, where she denies perverting the course of justice by accepting Huhne’s speeding points in 2003.
Breaking down in tears, the mother of five said there were lots of things about her former husband that she could ignore, but one incident stuck out.
“That particular incident is one where I got accidentally pregnant and obviously wanted to keep the baby because it was healthy - in fact, I quite like babies, that’s why I have so many.
“He absolutely resisted it, saying it was bad timing, bad financially, bad for his career to be tied down again.
“And despite my protestations, he got me to have an abortion, which I have regretted ever since.”
Athens-born Pryce said she met Huhne in 1982, a year after her first marriage ended, and, despite her having “second thoughts” and breaking off their engagement, they married a year later.
At that time he was a journalist at the Guardian, she said, with aspirations in politics.
Pryce already had two children from her first marriage and went on to have three more with Huhne.
She described how she was “against” him becoming an MEP because of the effect it would have on their home life and told the court today that she had to change her working life to fit in with looking after her family.
She went from travelling worldwide in her work as a corporate economist to being UK-based, and later to taking a Government job.
She said politics was Huhne’s priority, adding: “He was not around an awful lot and at the time I had my job and children so I had to absolutely rethink my entire life.”
She said in 2002 he decided to seek nomination as the Lib Dem candidate for the Eastleigh seat, and split his time between trying to gain support and his work as an MEP.
In 2003, when Huhne’s car was clocked speeding, she said he nominated her as the driver without consulting her, and then pressured her to sign the form saying she was the driver.
He was keen to avoid losing his licence because it would affect his chances of being nominated as the prospective parliamentary candidate, she said, and had asked her to take the points.
“I knew, of course, immediately that I had not driven the car and, of course, had not incurred the penalty,” she said.
“But also I resisted. I had absolutely no wish to take on his points because I knew full well he was a very, very fast driver and very often ignored speed limits and had brought it on himself.”
She said they argued for “a number of days” about the issue, but then it “went quiet”.
Pryce, wearing a dark skirt and black jacket, said: “A little while later I received an envelope addressed to me which I opened and it looked as if suddenly these points were addressed to me as the person who had been nominated as the driver of that vehicle.
“I exploded,” she said, and added that she probably swore, saying: “What is going on?”
“I said ‘I am not doing this, I am not signing anything, these are not my points.”
After leaving the letter in their hallway, a few days later she said she was called downstairs.
“My husband was standing by the form which actually I had just left and abandoned myself on the table, maybe a couple of days earlier, with a pen in his hand, saying ‘You have absolutely got to sign that. If you don’t, the implications will be considerable’.
“’It’s ridiculous you’re not signing it, just sign here’.”
Pryce said her name was already filled in and she just had to sign at the bottom.
She told the jury: “I had no choice at the time because he was standing there saying ‘This is it, this is the nomination form, you have got to sign this now’.
“I looked at this and realised I had absolutely no choice. I was already nominated.
“It looked like a complete fait accompli for me and for him.
“I had been worn down over a period of time and it looked to me like it was the only thing I could possibly do.
“It didn’t look to me like I had any choice at all in the matter so I took this pen and signed, protesting all the time, but I did it.”