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Huhne pleads guilty. If a few votes had gone the other way, he might have been Deputy Prime Minister...

By Paul Goodman
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Chris Huhne has just pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.  No doubt we will find out in due course why he has done so now, having originally pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Three brief points:

  • There will be a by-election in Eastleigh.
  • Cabinet resignations are not uncommon: think Laws and Fox from this Government; think Mandelson and Blunkett - and others - from Labour's 13 years.  But this is unusual in being a good (or bad) old-fashioned "smash".  The only comparable case I can think of is Jonathan Aitken, in terms of the politician in question being exposed in court.
  • If a few hundred votes had gone the other way - to him, not "Calamity Clegg" - Huhne would have led his party.  And although he has been an effective anti-Tory attack dog, neither the numbers nor his own inclinations (he is a deficit hawk) would have pushed him in Labour's direction in 2010.  So he could well have become Deputy Prime Minister in this Government...

More later.


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