British Prime Minister David Cameron was making a third unwanted shake up of his government Friday,after prosecutors charged Cabinet minister Chris Huhne over an alleged attempt to pin a speeding penalty on his ex-wife.
Camerons office said Liberal Democrat lawmaker Ed Davey had been appointed as Energy and Climate Change Secretary after his predecessor quit. Davey was previously a junior minister in the business department.
The development follows earlier unplanned reshuffles of Camerons Cabinet,after Liberal Democrat David Laws stepped down in 2010 over an allowances row and following the dramatic departure of Defence Secretary Liam Fox,who resigned last year following a furor over a close friend who had posed as an aide.
Huhne,who will continue to serve in Parliament with the Liberal Democrat party,the junior member in Britains coalition government,faces a criminal charge of perverting the course of justice,Keir Starmer,the chief prosecutor for England and Wales said.
Prosecutors said the offence carried a maximum sentence of life in jail,though those convicted typically face lenient punishments.
The charge follows an eight-month police investigation into an allegation that Huhne persuaded his now ex-wife,economist Vicky Pryce,to accept a speeding penalty on his behalf in 2003,to avoid a driving ban.
Starmer said that Huhne and Pryce,who were married for 26 years before they split in 2010,would both face the same charge and appear in court on February 16. We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Huhne and Pryce for perverting the course of justice, Starmer said. Huhne has consistently denied wrongdoing in the case,which relates to a speeding offense committed by a car used by the couple in 2003.