UK ex-minister pleads guilty to perverting course of justice

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Former British energy secretary Chris Huhne pleaded guilty on Monday to perverting the course of justice over accusations he persuaded his then wife in 2003 to take the blame for a speeding offence he had committed.

A senior member of the Liberal Democrats, the smaller party in Britain's ruling coalition, Huhne resigned from his cabinet post in February 2012 when he was charged. He remains a member of parliament.

A week ago Huhne pleaded not guilty to the same offense.

His party leader, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, had told reporters this month that he would like to see Huhne return to the "top table" of British politics, were he cleared of the charges. (Reporting by Estelle Shirbon Writing by Tim Castle Editing by Maria Golovnina)