Coffee House

Clegg faces a potential dilemma over Chris Huhne

2 February 2012

Neither David Cameron nor Nick Clegg is a fan of Chris Huhne. The Prime Minister would,
by all accounts, shed few tears if Huhne had to step down.
But I suspect that the deputy Prime Minister will be hoping that tomorrow does not bring any adverse developments for the Energy and Climate Change Secretary. If there were to be charges, Clegg
would be placed in a very difficult position. He would, despite his efforts to hide behind the Cabinet Secretary, have to decide whether
the man he narrowly beat to the Lib Dem leadership could stay in post. This would be a lose-lose situation for Clegg for obvious reasons.
Now, it should be stressed that Huhne denies any wrongdoing. Also beware of anyone making any confident predictions about what will happen tomorrow morning. This is one of those moment where both
politicians and the press don’t know what is about to be announced.

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Show comments
  • Charlie the Chump

    09:39 – BBC quotes Vicky Price “There WILL be charges”

  • EC

    Clegg and his former wife cannot BOTH be innocent!

  • Jimmy R

    the real question should be, other than Huhne would anybody shed a tear if he was dumped from the Government?

  • Fish

    The more I think about this the more I think that Huhne will not be charged.

    I think it highly unlikley that Starmer could stand in front of the cameras and explain why Huhne will go to trial without compromising due process. He is more likley to explain the legal basis on which the case cannot proceed (whilst omitting to mention that there is a different set of criteria that are applied to the ruling classes and the well conected than the man in the street).

    Hope I’m wrong.

  • Ostrich (occasionally)

    Rosie 2nd, 7:50pm

    “True, he has been an energetic Sec. of State”

    Not enough, I’m afraid. As I understand it, after he accepted the position of Energy Secretary, he had to be sat down by his senior civil servants and taught a lot of basic physics, to make him understand just how cock-a-mamie his ideas were about both renewable energy and nuclear power.
    They, of course, realised that his was purely a political appointment and are, even now, just praying for the day he leaves and an energy secretary with a proper understanding of science can be appointed.

  • Simon Stephenson.

    escapedRoger : 8.32pm

    “Don’t tell me Laws is tainted as well, the whole expenses nonsense was a well known set of Westminster fiddles used to make up for pay rises dating back to the 80s,”

    Yes, it was, but this doesn’t make it any more excusable. The choice for MPs was either to vote themselves the salaries they considered their due, or to accept the lower salaries that they were prepared to pass through the House. What they were not entitled to do was to attempt to hoodwink the general public by creating a “nod and a wink” crypto-salary via the expenses system. I’m afraid that I consider any MP who thinks I am wrong in this assessment to be not sufficiently honest to be worthy of his status as an MP.

  • Sacre Bleu

    Should he be charged and forced to step down, can anyone offer any rationale for a LibDem replacement. On a pro rate basis, their cabinet positions are widely disproportionate to the number of MPs in parliament. I also feel that as PM Cameron should have the power to sack any incompetent from his cabinet irrespective of party. Seems to me to have been a pretty one sided cabinet set up post the election. Like many others here, Cameron appears to be a bit of a political eunuch – no balls!

  • Liz Brown

    Unfortunately think that Starmer will come up with nothing to see so move along please….Huhne is a nasty pice of work and should be got rid of but that’s not going to happen -the Establishment looks after its own

  • john miller

    I don’t think Clegg will find he has a problem.

    The Establishment have taken an age to get this far. I’m sure they won’t let Huhne down at the last minute.

  • escapedRoger

    Clegg needs to think seriously, for two seconds! Huhne out, Laws back in, finished.
    Don’t tell me Laws is tainted as well, the whole expenses nonsense was a well known set of Westminster fiddles used to make up for pay rises dating back to the 80s, far less serious the the odious Huhne.

  • It doesn’t add up…

    Clegg has a different problem should the case go to court and Huhne be found innocent. Almost anything else, and he’s laughing – even if there ends up being a by-election in Eastleigh and Lib Dems lose the seat to the Tories.

  • It doesn’t add up…

    frankly the only difficulty for Clegg would be if Starmer provides a “not proven” verdict. The lynch mob will say if we can shred a knighthood then why not end Huhne’s career too? The cries of “one law for them, another for us” will be everywhere.

  • libertarian

    Really, well I for one am making the strongest confident prediction that this will be dropped. He will not be charged. Politicians don’t get charged, only footballers

  • Rosie

    I disagree with your assessment. Chris Huhne lost a lot of respect within his party when he abruptly ended his marriage to the highly-esteemed Vicki Pryce.

    True, he has been an energetic Sec. of State but his marital affairs and the threat of prosecution have damaged his reputation. I cannot see that Nick Clegg would have much difficulty in parting with him.

  • salieri

    “He would have to decide whether the man he narrowly beat to the Lib Dem leadership could stay in post.”

    Yes, and?

  • tom jones

    Urgh! Hate Chris Huhne. He did well on QT a few months back, but his policies are just terrible and I think he’d happily bankrupt Britain even more just so that he can claim victory on some climate change targets. Hope he’s charged and guilty. The dirty campaign he ran against Clegg in the LibDem leadership contest shows you exactly what kind of a man he is. I want Laws back and I Huhne and Cable out.

  • Heartless Curmudgeon

    Energy and Climate Change Secretary


    A non-person in a non-job for a non-government!

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Three optiions for Clegg:

    Stick to the law and convention, that Huhne should step down while the case is resolved.

    Do what is right for the country. ie Ditch the idiot, charged or not.

    Do what is required by political expedience to get to the end of the week without looking bad.

    I wonder which option he will choose?

  • Andrew SW18

    Charges against Huhne would represent a real dilemma for Clegg, like watching the mother-in-law driving off Beachey Head in one’s favorite Bentley.

    Hard to see it happening, though – the DPP will almost certainly ask Essex Police for just one last, teensy-weensy piece of evidence – before he decides (as he did months ago) not to upset a fellow traveller.

    I suggest the CoffeeHouse Elves prepare Perjury Bingo Cards for us, with extra points for “Not in the Public Interest”, “Realistic Probability of Conviction”, “Prospects of a Fair Trial”, “Press Speculation” and “Use of Public Resources”.

    Winner gets two weeks’ fact-finding in Zimbabwe. Runner-up, four weeks’.

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