Vicky Pryce 'Bullied' Into Taking Chris Huhne's Driving Points

'She's Not Superwoman'

Vicky Pryce was not "superwoman", but a "real woman with real pressures" who was pressured into taking Chris Huhne's speeding points, her lawyer has told a court.

Julian Knowles QC said Pryce was bullied by her "ruthlessly ambitious" ex-husband when she had a "second's lapse" and signed a form agreeing to take his points in 2003.

Pryce, 60, denies perverting the court of justice, claiming she was coerced by Huhne, the former energy secretary who has resigned as an MP.

The day after she was accused by prosecutor Andrew Edis QC of telling "barefaced lies" to the jury during her trial at Southwark Crown Court, Knowles said she was a "woman of integrity" with the same emotions and frailties as anyone else, not "bloodless" and "emotionless".

Vicky Pryce denied perverting the course of justice

"She is not superwoman, they exist only in comic books, she was a real woman with real pressures," he said.

"A job, five children, yes there was money around, sure, but money doesn't solve everything."

He said Huhne had bullied her, going on and on for her to take the points.

"Everyone has a breaking point, everyone runs out of gas, everyone makes mistakes, has moments of weakness, can be worn down.

"It doesn't matter who you are, where you are from, what you do, how many languages you speak.

"Every single one of us, given the right combination of circumstances, feel they have no option but to do something they don't want to do even though they know it's not the right thing to do.

"To portray Vicky Pryce as some bloodless, emotionless, career woman who never put a foot wrong, who never did things that she didn't want to do, is just so far wide of the mark that it ought to be dismissed out of hand.

"People are more complex, they have frailties, she does too."

Mr Knowles told the court Pryce was not born with "silver spoons in her mouth", and achieved everything she had "by the sweat of her brow".

"No matter how people might look up to Ms Pryce for her achievements and for the financial benefits that she might or might not have achieved, she has had a hard and difficult life and has worked for everything that she has achieved."

He said Huhne had been described as "ferociously intelligent" and "controversial" in Westminster and often regarded others, including Pryce, as inferior.

"People who regard others as their inferiors tend to expect their inferiors to do what they want them to do, and the fact that that was the dynamic in their marriage is of real and telling significance," said Mr Knowles.

"How he treated her through the court of the marriage - intellectually intelligent he may have been, emotionally intelligent he certainly was not.

"Mr Huhne was a man who didn't let anything stand in the way of his career.

"He wanted to do more in his career than just write dry business articles somewhere two-thirds in the middle of the paper that only those with certain interest wanted to read.

"Ruthlessly ambitious, Mr Huhne wanted power, he wanted to be an MP, he wanted to be not just an MP, he wanted to be a leading MP."

Pryce was worn down by her then husband's "badgering", he said, telling jurors: "He had been on at her and on at her and on at her.

"Bullies, domineers, don't just use their fists, they don't have to.

"Clever people like Mr Huhne have other ways of controlling and domineering, and it was the other ways that he utilised.

"This combination of pressures forced her into a second's lapse when she scribbled her name on the form that he had already completed for her.

"There is quite simply no way Vicky Pryce, a woman of integrity, would willingly have sent that form for the sake of convenience in the way that is being suggested to you.

"She was under lots of pressure from him and from every direction and in a situation frankly she should never have been in.

"He should not have filled that form in nominating her when he knew full well that he was the driver."

He said when Pryce told Sunday Times political editor Isabel Oakeshott about the points-swapping, she had a "cocktail of emotions which swirled around and settled in different ways at different times" and later regretted.

Closing his speech, the barrister said to jurors: "Chris Huhne may once have been a politician, with people voting for him, but she needs your votes now - 12 of them - and these are 12 votes that I ask for on her behalf, because she is not guilty."


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