Nick Clegg has not contacted Chris Huhne in jail but retains "a lot of respect" for his party colleague and hopes to meet him when he is released, he said.

Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce are expected to be released from prison next month, after serving around one-quarter of their eight-month sentences for perverting the course of justice.

The politician pled guilty after quitting the Cabinet to clear his name, and Pryce was convicted by a jury, after it emerged she took speeding points on his behalf a decade earlier.

The Deputy Prime Minister told BBC Radio 4 it was not good for the party to have someone "as significant in the Liberal Democrat world" as his former leadership rival behind bars. Asked if he had been in touch, Mr Clegg said: "Not while he's been in prison, no.

"But I very much hope I will see him at some point in the future because whatever Chris has done, and he's been found guilty and he has served his time, he is someone I have a lot of respect for."