Speaker brings controversy to Rye Art Festival

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People in the town have been divided as to whether Rye Festival should have booked convicted criminal Vicky Pryce to give a talk.

Vicky Pryce hit the headlines when she was handed an eight month prison sentence after being convicted for perverting the course of justice.

The Greek born economist had covered for her husband, disgraced Lib-Dem MP Chris Huhne after she accepted driving licence penalty points actually incurred by him.

Ms Pryce is booked to appear at The George on Tuesday September 23 at 3pm as part of the Rye Arts Festival.

But the Festival has admitted that her appearance has caused some talk in the town.

Andy Stuart said: “Some people have questioned whether we should have booked her but there is also the argument that she has paid her debt to society and that she has a story to tell with an important social message behind it.”

One Rye resident, who contacted the Observer, and did not want to be named, said: “I don’t think it is right.

“This woman is a convicted criminal who tried to deceive the courts and I do not think it is right she should be paid to come to Rye and talk about it.

“She should not be given the oxygen of publicity.”

Prosecutor Andrew Edis, claimed in court that Ms Pryce had worked with barrister Constance Briscoe to leak a story to a Mail on Sunday journalist aimed at bringing about Chris Huhne’s downfall, following the divorce.

Briscoe was jailed for 16 months after being found guilty, at The Old Bailey, of attempting to pervert the course of justice, by lying to police, falsifying a witness statement, and providing a false document to an expert witness

Pryce joined the Department for Trade and Industry in August 2002 as Chief Economic Adviser, the first woman to be appointed to the post.

The talk promises ‘a compelling analysis of how prison works or should work and examines how the human and financial cost impact on education’.