1. ITV Report

Huhne claims £17,000 Cabinet payoff

Chris Huhne Photo: PA

Former energy secretary Chris Huhne is to receive a £17,000 payoff after quitting the Cabinet to fight charges of perverting the course of justice, it was confirmed today.

Ministers are entitled to severance pay equivalent to three months of their ministerial salary when they leave the Government. However, the money is not paid to them automatically, but must be claimed by the MP in question.

Mr Huhne has come under pressure from opponents not to claim the tax-free payment, after becoming the first government minister in living memory to be forced out of office by a criminal prosecution.

But the Cabinet Office said: "We can confirm that, following his resignation from the Cabinet, Chris Huhne will receive a severance payment of three months of his ministerial salary."

Before his resignation on February 3, Mr Huhne received annual ministerial pay of £68,827 on top of his £65,738 salary as MP for Eastleigh.

He denies perverting the course of justice by asking his then wife to take speeding penalty points onto her driving licence. Mr Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce are due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on March 2nd.