Does Huhne plan one last act of retribution before he's jailed?
And why revenge is a dish best eaten in Covent Garden, writes Nigel Horne
THE political journalist Isabel Oakeshott, writing in yesterday's Sunday Times about her role in the revenge and downfall of Vicky Pryce, has revealed that the restaurant where Pryce divulged her story was Christopher's in Covent Garden.
You don't hear much these days about Christopher's American Bar & Grill, but it used to be one of three restaurants on the corner of Wellington Street and Exeter Street – the other two being Orso's and Joe Allen's – which were loved by journalists, politicians and the theatre crowd.
The last time I had lunch there was with an old friend – a boozy meal I remember to this day because I smoked so much (those were the days) that I quit cold turkey that very afternoon and have never had a cigarette since. I recommend Christopher's heartily for a life-changing lunch (though you'll have to wait until April because it's being refurbished).
Incidentally, it seems Vicky Pryce and Chris Huhne haven't yet finished airing their dirty laundry. According to the Sunday Telegraph, Huhne will seize the chance to say at this afternoon's sentencing that his ex-wife lied in court when she claimed that he forced her to have an abortion.
The paper quotes a friend of Huhne's saying he plans to bring it up in mitigation before the judge hands down the couple's sentence. "Vicky Pryce told all sorts of lies about him in the witness box," the friend claims. "He [Huhne] will refute the abortion claim. That is the plan."
Pryce brought up the abortion story in an attempt to persuade the jury that her husband was a bully and that she was the victim of "marital coercion" when she agreed to take his speeding points back in 2003. Huhne claims it is nonsense.
Whatever the truth, if Huhne really wanted us to ignore this disturbing tale, then surely he would do best to leave it alone. Clive Coleman, the BBC's legal correspondent, talking on the Today programme this morning, suggested Huhne would be wasting his breath revisiting the issue in mitigation.
Let's hope Huhne was listening. But if his Sunday Telegraph "friend" is right, then we're to be given one last insight into the miserable Huhne-Pryce marriage before they are ferried off to jail – and one last reason why this case should never have come before a criminal court.
Mary Dejevsky of The Independent put it best last Friday. She argued that Pryce's admission to Isabel Oakeshott that her husband had swapped points had "very little to do with any desire to uphold the law, and everything to do with the very messy collapse of a marriage".
Dejevsky finished her piece: "The case that concluded yesterday will be recorded in court documents as Regina v Vasiliki Pryce and Christopher Huhne. It might more accurately have been described as Pryce v Huhne and, as such, confined to the divorce court. This use of judges' time says almost nothing about the dishonest practice of 'taking points', but an awful lot about men and women behaving badly." ·