CHRIS Huhne has vowed to launch a “robust defence” against a charge of perverting the course of justice after quitting the Cabinet yesterday.
The Liberal Democrat stood down as Energy and Climate Change Secretary after the Crown Prosecution Service charged him and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce over allegations he persuaded her to take his penalty points for a speeding offence in 2003.
The pair are set to appear in court on February 16, with Eastliegh MP Mr Huhne describing the decision to press charges as “deeply regrettable”.
“I am innocent of these charges and I intend to fight this in the courts and I am confident that a jury will agree,” he said.
“So as to avoid any distraction to either my official duties or my trial defence, I am standing down, resigning, as Energy and Climate Change Secretary.”
In a letter to his former Lib Dem leadership rival, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “I fully understand your decision to stand down from Government in order to clear your name, but I hope you will be able to do so rapidly so that you can return to play a key role in Government as soon as possible.”
But the Prime Minister made no mention of a possible return in his own letter accepting Huhne’s resignation, which sparked a mini-reshuffle among Lib Dem ministers, with Ed Davey taking over his cabinet post.