MP’s partner loses privacy case

Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne
Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne
Defence correspondent om Cotterill on the jet simulator

The News defence correspondent ‘lands’ jet on HMS Queen Elizabeth

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EASTLEIGH MP Chris Huhne’s partner Carina Trimingham has lost her privacy and harassment claim against Associated Newspapers.

Her affair with the former secretary of state for energy and climate change became public in June 2010, with Mr Huhne leaving his wife of 26 years.

The 44-year-old PR adviser sued for compensation and an injunction over 65 “highly unpleasant and hurtful” articles which have appeared since then.

Last month, her lawyers told Mr Justice Tugendhat, at London’s High Court, that they constituted a “cataclysmic interference” with her private life. Associated contested the case on the basis that there was an important public interest.

Ms Trimingham’s counsel, Matthew Ryder QC, said the Daily Mail had a right to freedom of expression but not to abuse her repeatedly under the guise of exercising that freedom. The articles referred to the “life and very different loves of the PR girl in Doc Martens” and described her as a “comedy lesbian from central casting”.

Ms Trimingham was in court but showed no emotion as her claim was dismissed by the judge. He said: “Ms Trimingham was not the purely private figure she claims to be. Her reasonable expectation of privacy has become limited.”

Outside court, Ms Trimingham said: “I am extremely disappointed by this judgment. There is a ray of light, however. Thankfully, the court has accepted today that repeated mocking of a person by a national newspaper by reference to their sexual orientation would almost inevitably be so oppressive as to amount to harassment.

“However, the court did not appreciate that when newspapers make repeated irrelevant references to sexuality - particularly in the context of pejorative and stereotypical references to appearance - it amounts to the same type of mocking which the court has confirmed is unacceptable.

“This is confused, and I think wrong. I am very concerned that this judgment may become a blueprint for bullies and bigots. I intend to appeal.”

Ms Trimingham, who is insured, was ordered to pay £250,000 on account of Associated’s estimated £410,000 costs within 14 days.