The Staggers 15 May 2011 Chris Huhne and the “conspiracy of silence” over speeding points claims The Climate Change Secretary comes under renewed fire after recording of phone call. Print HTML Both the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday have splashed on fresh claims about speeding points for the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary in charge of climate change, Chris Huhne. Following last week's story that Huhne asked an associate to accept penalty points he incurred for a speeding offence in 2003, the papers have followed up with the fresh claim that he recently called the person involved to warn them not to talk to the media about it. In what the MoS grandly dubs a "conspiracy of silence", Huhne is said to have told the person: "The story they are trying to stand up is that 'Cabinet minister persuaded XXX to take points'. The only way they can stand that up is by getting you to talk to them. There is simply no other person who could possibly tell them whether it is true or not." The other speaker says: "It's one of the things that worried me when you made me take the points." If called by journalists, Huhne says, you should: "Just say, oooh, terribly bad line, terribly sorry, bad reception, I'll talk to you later – and hang up." Falsely naming another driver to avoid penalty points is a criminal offence, and one that would probably end Huhne's ministerial career – and his hopes of succeeding Nick Clegg as the party's leader. Huhne denies the allegation, although his ex-wife Vicky Pryce told the MoS last week: "I am aware that he pressurised people to take his driving licence penalty points." PS: The MoS appends this disclaimer to its story: "Neither the Mail on Sunday nor anybody commissioned by the Mail on Sunday was involved in taping evidence of Huhne's phone call." The Sunday Times, for its part, says the tape (which it says is 11 minutes long, rather than the Mail's 13) was "passed" to it and "obtained legally". Surely, then, the only explanation is that Huhne's "associate" recorded the call and handed it over? › Morning Call: pick of the papers Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics. From only £1 per week Subscribe More Related articles The Fire Brigades Union reaffiliates to Labour - what does it mean? John Gray on the future of the state on the NS Podcast Could Labour lose the Oldham by-election?