Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told Sky News he was “shocked” by the resignation of Chris Huhne, adding that the former Energy Secretary needs to “make amends” in the wake of the affair.
In a lengthy interview with Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan, Mr Clegg spoke about a range of issues including Mr Huhne’s decision to resign from Parliament, the upcoming by-election in Mr Huhne’s former seat of Eastleigh, and the Mid Staffordshire Hospital scandal.
Mr Huhne has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice over claims that his ex-wife Vicky Pryce took speeding penalty points so that he could avoid prosecution.
He announced he was quitting as an MP shortly after entering the plea on the first day of the pair’s trial at Southwark Crown Court in London on Monday.
Speaking to Sky News about the affair, Mr Clegg said: “I was very shocked, sad to see what happened and to see that frankly his whole family is engulfed in this in a very public way.
“You’d have to have a heart of stone not to think that is a pretty shocking and sad thing.
“I took what Chris said at face value, indeed he then rang me the night before he entered his guilty plea to tell me he was doing so.
“I’m not going to start a running commentary on events that have happened and of course a sentence hasn’t even been handed down yet.”
“At the end of the day Chris needs to speak for himself, needs to answer for himself, and needs to make amends.”
Mr Huhne, 58, was once seen as a future Lib Dem leader. He has been released on unconditional bail and will be sentenced at a later date.
Also speaking about the neglect of patients at Mid Staffordshire Hospital, Mr Clegg said that he – like the public – was distressed by details of patient mistreatment.
“It’s literally unbelievable, I think, that in this day and age that should happen in our NHS, that otherwise provides excellent and compassionate care to many people.
“And, yes, as Jeremy Hunt has rightly said, where the police can identify c