Byline: Simon Walters and Glen Owen
THE Cabinet's master of political black arts, Chris Huhne, has left a trail of victims in his wake.
They include his own party leader Nick Clegg, Home Secretary Theresa May and, allegedly, his ex-wife Vicky Pryce.
Now it is clear why he is so expert at hatching such cunning plans - he has been doing it for nearly 40 years.
In 1973, as a long-haired 19-year-old student of Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Magdalen College, Oxford, he gave a witty masterclass for would-be political Machiavellis on how to 'stab' their rivals in the back.
An article he penned for a university freshers' guide reeks of the cynicism for which Energy Secretary Mr Huhne, 57, has become renowned in Westminster. His guide for budding politicians said:
'Stab' your foes when you get the chance.
Join whichever party offers the best chance of getting to the top.
Don't go into politics if you are a 'nice guy'.
Politicians are 'arrogant toadies'.
'The first weeks of Michaelmas are habitually punctuated by the puzzled cries of political freshmen wondering just which party or group they ought to join,' writes Mr Huhne, who was then political editor of the Oxford University magazine Isis.
'The answer is simple lads: the one you'll get on best in.'
Warming to his theme, the thick-skinned Mr Huhne adds: 'Oxford politics is superbly opportunist and extremely dirty. If you don't mind having mud smothered over you by opponents ... go into politics. If you're a nice guy who likes his mamma and home comforts, you should stick to more domestic affairs.'
He adds that he is 'speaking as one who has been knifed, stabbed or what you will on too many occasions to enumerate'.
He is none too flattering about political student leaders at Oxford, saying 'the vast majority are and will remain mediocre nonentities. …