Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, called a press conference at 10am this morning to announce both Mr Huhne and his ex-wife Vasiliki, known as Vicky, Pryce will face charges for perverting the course of justice.

Mr Huhne, who has consistently denied the charges, has written to the prime minister, David Cameron, to confirm he will step down as energy secretary ahead of he and, his now ex-wife, appearing in court on February 16.

Mr Huhne said: “The CPS decision is deeply regrettably, I’m innocent of these charges and intend to fight this in the courts and I’m confident a jury will agree.

“To avoid any distractions to either my official duty or my trial defence I’m standing down as energy and climate secretary.”

Mr Huhne has been under the spotlight over the allegations since a complaint was made to Essex Police in May last year.

That complaint alleges that Ms Pryce had accepted responsibility for a speeding offence committed by Mr Huhne in 2003, Essex police passed the file to the CPS in late July last year.

Mr Starmer said: “The essence of the charges is that between March and May 2003, Mr Huhne, having allegedly committed a speeding offence, falsely informed the investigating authorities that Ms Pryce had been the driver of the vehicle in question, and she falsely accepted that she was the driver.

“Accordingly, summonses against both Mr Huhne and Ms Pryce have been obtained from Westminster Magistrates Court and those summonses will now be served on them.”

Speculation is rife as to Mr Huhne’s future in Parliament with sources saying he will have to step down from front bench politics and could be replaced with fellow Lib Dem Norman Lamb.

Mr Huhne, denies the charges, but could face a prison sentence of between three and nine months if found guilty.

Luke Walsh

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