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UK energy minister to serve jail term

Disgraced energy minister Chris Huhne.

Disgraced energy minister Chris Huhne.

LONDON — Disgraced energy minister Chris Huhne was jailed for eight months on Monday for lying to police about a speeding offence in 2003, in the final chapter of a bizarre tale of adultery and revenge that has gripped the British public.

Huhne’s ex-wife Vicky Pryce, a prominent economist, was also jailed for eight months for her role in the deception.

Prior to the scandal, Huhne had been seen as a potential future leader of the Liberal Democrats, junior partners to the Conservatives in Britain’s ruling coalition government.

When his car was caught by a speed camera, he and his wife falsely told police she had been driving, so that the minister could avoid a driving ban.

The incident remained a family secret for years but came back to haunt Huhne after he left Pryce for his mistress, Carina Trimingham, in 2010. Pryce told two newspapers about the 2003 deception in an act of revenge that landed both Huhne and herself in the dock.

“Any element of tragedy is entirely your own fault,” judge Nigel Sweeney told the pair as he passed sentence on them.

“There is a controlling, manipulative and devious side to your nature,” he told Pryce, saying she had been driven by “an implacable desire for revenge”.

“Despite your high office, Mr. Huhne, you tried to lie your way out of trouble by claiming you were innocent, by repeating that lie again and again,” the judge told the disgraced politician.

“You have fallen from a great height.”

The estranged pair sat side-by-side in the glass-walled dock during the lengthy sentencing hearing but did not make eye-contact. Trimingham sat in the public gallery in the courtroom packed with journalists. (Reuters)

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