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Chris Huhne has admitted perverting the course of justice as he and his ex-wife went on trial over a speeding offence.
The former Cabinet minister is now expected to stand down as MP for Eastleigh after entering the plea on the first day of his trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.
His former wife Vicky Pryce, a former Government economics adviser, denies a charge of perverting the course of justice and her trial is expected to proceed.
Huhne arrived at the court on Monday morning with his girlfriend Carina Trimingham, who he admitted having an affair with in 2010.
The relationship led to the breakdown of his 26-year marriage to Pryce, with whom the politician has three children.
Ms Trimingham watched from the public gallery as he pleaded guilty.
The ex-Energy Secretary, who had harboured hopes of one day leading the Liberal Democrats, now finds his career in tatters and could face a jail term.
Perversion of the course of justice carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Huhne, 58, spoke clearly as he said "guilty" when asked for his plea. At a pre-trial hearing last week, he had denied the offence.
The charges date back to March 2003 when Huhne's car was allegedly caught speeding on the motorway between Stansted Airport and London.
It was claimed that he persuaded economist Pryce, 60, to take the points so that he could avoid prosecution.
The claims only emerged in 2011 after his marriage fell apart because of his affair.
The Lib Dem MP from Dutton Lane stood down from the Cabinet last year, vowing to clear his name.