UK

Vicky Pryce Story Would Have Been Published Anyway, Says Isabel Oakeshott

10/03/2013 12:11 GMT | Updated 10/03/2013 12:15 GMT

The journalist at the heart of the downfall of former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne has defended her role in publicising his driving offence.

Huhne and Vicky Pryce, his ex-wife, will be sentenced on Monday for perverting the course of justice, with both facing a likely jail sentence.

On Friday, emails between Pryce and Isabel Oakeshott, of the Sunday Times, were published, revealing their careful plotting over how to run the story.

Oakeshott told Pryce there was a "minor risk" of her facing prosecution herself, and wrote: "I think we can have some fun with this."

Eventually, the story was published but Pryce failed in her bid to remain anonymous and was found guilty of taking her ex-husband's points.

Writing in the Sunday Times (£), Oakeshott said it was clear Pryce had "an agenda", and said she had "double crossed" her by taking the same story to the rival Mail on Sunday.

Later, speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics, she claimed the story would have been published anyway, even if the Sunday Times had not run it.

Asked whether she had "colluded" with Pryce, she said: "I am not sure I would use the word 'collude', what I did was help her get the story out there...we wanted it to be done in as simple way as possible."

It was not her job to provide criminal advice, she said, adding: "We didn't know the risk because we are not criminal lawyers.

"I felt absolutely that I had a moral obligation to her..and I fulfilled that obligation."

Asked how she will feel when Pryce is sentenced, she added: "What I will be thinking about is her family and her children."