01/06/2012 06:05 BST | Updated 01/06/2012 12:17 BST

Vicky Pryce Pleads Not Guilty To Perverting Course Of Justice Over Chris Huhne Speeding Points

The ex-wife of the former energy secretary Chris Huhne has pleaded not guilty to perverting the course of justice at Southwark Crown Court in London.

Vicky Pryce is alleged to have taken speeding points on Chris Huhne's behalf in connection with a speeding offence almost a decade ago.

The court was told Pryce was pleading not guilty on the grounds of "marital coercion".

Chris Huhne did not enter a plea.

chris huhne

Former Energy And Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne

Huhne allegedly persuaded his former partner Vicky Pryce to take his penalty points for a speeding offence in Essex.

The 57-year-old, who remains the Lib Dem MP for his home town of Eastleigh in Hampshire, stood down from the Cabinet to fight the claims he wrongly told investigators his wife was driving his car.

vicky pryce

Huhne's ex-wife, the economist Vicky Pryce

Vicky Pryce is a former government economist who makes regular appearances in the media, particularly on the continuing crisis in the Eurozone.

The events which led to the charges date back to March 2003, when Huhne's car was allegedly caught by a speed camera on the motorway between Stansted Airport in Essex and London.

But accusations of impropriety only emerged in 2010, after the father-of-five admitted an affair with PR adviser Carina Trimingham and ended his 26-year marriage. Huhne and Pryce divorced in January in 2011.

Reporters at Southwark Crown court described how Huhne refused to look at his ex-wife during the short hearing.

Perverting the course of justice carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

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