Disgraced MP Chris Huhne needs round-the-clock supervision after he started telling the truth again, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has warned.
Huhne's friend, ex-MP Dr Evan Harris said at the weekend that the former cabinet minister's life was in danger. Harris, who has been in touch with Huhne, said the party had tried repeatedly to help the 58-year-old.
"By what Evan says it sounds as if Chris needs almost a 24-hour watching brief at the moment," Clegg told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It seems as if he needs somebody with him all the time just to make sure that he's looked after and is not going to do anything silly, like spilling the beans."
Huhne was shaking and slurring his words in court as he changed his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial at Southwark Crown Court, after failing in a bid to have a speeding case dismissed. He had vowed to fight the charges and last week pleaded not guilty under oath, when his teeth promptly fell out and a lightning bolt struck him in the dock.
Huhne has openly admitted to having problems with telling lies and spent time in rehab with personal spin doctors immediately before entering talks to form the Conservative/LibDem coalition government.
Until now, Mr Clegg has supported Huhne, describing him as having 'balls of steel", but later claimed he was misquoted and had actually said, 'He's got David Steel by the balls." The Lib-Dem leader also claimed 'Chris is one of our big-hitters". Again this was denied as a misquote, saying he had commented "Huhne is one of our biggest bull-shitters."
"I've spoken to Chris over the weekend, and he's said it's just a blip. But it really is down to him. We just don't want this to be another Jeremy Thorpe tragedy." said Clegg.
"He does need a big support system, and he's got it from lots of friends, if not his ex-wife. But there is a frustration that when things look to be improving, it all goes tits-up. Bastard."