Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce both jailed for eight months
After months of lies, denials and defiance came the payback. Picking up his suit carrier and his smart black coat from the floor of the dock, a crushed and contrite Chris Huhne headed to one of London’s Victorian prisons for a new uniform of ill-fitting jeans and shoes worn by the prisoners who had served time before him.
In the final chapter of a 10-year saga, Huhne and his former wife, Vicky Pryce, were both jailed for eight months yesterday for swapping penalty speeding points in an offence that the court heard had struck at the heart of the criminal justice system.
Huhne betrayed little emotion as he was sent down by the judge, who told him that he had lied "again and again" to avoid the consequences of a driving ban to further his stellar career.
"You have fallen from a great height," Mr Justice Sweeney told the former Energy and Climate Change Secretary. Huhne was expected to be sent to the overcrowded Wandsworth Prison in south London, but could be out in two months on an electronic tag.
Pryce, who was described as having a "controlling, manipulative and devious side" and whose campaign of revenge led to his unmasking after he revealed an extra-marital affair, was likely to go to HMP Holloway.
In court and in a series of interviews last night, Huhne apologised for his crime – which he committed exactly 10 years ago today – amid the tatters of a career that had seen him standing for the Liberal Democrat leadership and taken him into the Cabinet. He becomes the first former cabinet minister since Jonathan Aitken to be sent to prison.
MPs who were sent to jail
Four former Labour MPs – Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Eric Illsley - went to prison during 2011 for fiddling their expenses. A fifth, Margaret Moran, was given a supervision order after a psychiatric report said she was unfit to plead.
Jonathan Aitken vowed to wield the ‘simple sword of truth’ against The Guardian for reporting his part in an arms deal - but he was lying, and was convicted of perjury, the last ex-Cabinet minister to go to prison.
Jeffrey Archer, the ex-MP and novelist, won a £500,000 libel award in 1987 after the Daily Star reported that he had been using a prostitute. Years later, it emerged that he had bribed a witness, and he was sentenced to four years.
John Stonehouse, the former Postmaster General, tried to escape his creditors in 1974 by leaving his clothes on a Miami beach as a pretend suicide. He was discovered in Australia, returned to the UK, and sentenced to seven years for fraud.
Horatio Bottomley was a sitting MP in 1922 when he was sentenced to seven years for fraud, over his management of a scheme similar to premium bonds. It is said that he was given work in Wormwood Scrubs making mail sacks. A chaplain asked him: “ Sewing, Bottomley?” and he replied “No, reaping.”