British ex-minister admits perverting course of justice

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 04, 2013 12:50 hrs

London, Feb 4 (IANS) Former British cabinet minister Chris Huhne has admitted perverting the course of justice over claims that his ex-wife took speeding points for him a decade ago, BBC reported Monday.

The 58-year-old Liberal Democrat MP changed his plea during his trial at Southwark Crown Court. He could face a prison sentence for the offence.

Huhne also said outside court he would stand down as MP.

His former wife, Vicky Pryce, has pleaded not guilty to the same offence on the grounds of marital coercion.

They were charged last year in relation to the alleged offence in 2003.

The charge relates to an incident in March 2003 when Huhne's car was allegedly caught by a speed camera on the motorway between Essex and London.

It is alleged that Pryce, 60, falsely informed police that she was the driver of the car so Huhne could avoid prosecution.

Huhne resigned as energy and climate change secretary after he was charged.

"Having taken responsibility for something that happened 10 years ago, the only proper course of action for me is to resign my Eastleigh seat in parliament, which I will do shortly," the MP was quoted as saying.

Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was said to be "shocked and saddened" by Huhne's conduct.

BBC said the offence can have a punishment of about six months to a year in prison.

Huhne earlier said he will fight the charges and last week pleaded not guilty.

But Monday, his barrister invited the court to read the indictment to Huhne once more.

When the allegation of perverting the course of justice was read, the MP quietly declared that he was guilty.

Huhne was granted bail until a sentence date is fixed.

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