Bloomberg News

U.K.’s Clegg Says He Wants David Laws Back as Huhne Learns Fate

February 03, 2012

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he wants former Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws back in government as their fellow Liberal Democrat, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne, prepared to learn whether he’ll be prosecuted for allegedly lying about a speeding ticket.

Clegg gave an interview to Parliament’s “House” magazine before the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said he’d make a statement on Huhne’s case at 10 a.m. today. If he decides to prosecute, it would pressure the energy secretary to quit. The Liberal Democrats, junior partners in the coalition government, have five seats at the Cabinet table.

Laws resigned in May 2010, 19 days after the formation of the coalition, after the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported he had claimed allowances to pay rent to his partner.

“What I would like to see David do is to be close to the center of power in one shape or form, with ideally quite a broad view of government policy,” Clegg said. “I think he’s got an ability to see the connections between policies which is quite unusual.”

Police in the eastern English county of Essex opened a probe last year into allegations that Huhne asked his then wife, Vicky Pryce, in 2003 to say she’d been driving his car when it was caught speeding, so he wouldn’t lose his license. Huhne has denied any wrongdoing.

“In the event of somebody being charged with a criminal offense, they would have to leave the government,” Clegg told BBC television’s “Andrew Marr Show” on Jan. 22. “That has been what’s happened in the past.”

--Editors: James Hertling, Eddie Buckle

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net.


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