Charlie Elphicke: Tory MP charged with sexual assault against two women

Charges relate to three allegations, prosecutors say

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Monday 22 July 2019 12:44 BST
Tory MP Charlie Elphicke charged with sexual assault against two women

Tory MP Charlie Elphicke has been charged with three counts of sexual assault against two women, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

The charges relate to two alleged incidents involving the same woman in 2016, and another alleged assault on a different woman in 2007.

The CPS said the decision had been made “after reviewing a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police”.

Mr Elphicke is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court in September.

The Dover and Deal MP was initially suspended by the Conservatives in November 2017 after “serious allegations” were made. He was readmitted last December on the day of a no-confidence vote in Theresa May, despite having been interviewed by police under caution as part of an ongoing investigation.

Mr Elphicke has denied any “criminal wrongdoing” and said he is “completely confident” of clearing his name. His solicitor said he would fight the charges “vigorously”.

Government sources said Mr Elphicke had had the whip withdrawn after the charges were announced.

That means the next prime minister, widely expected to be Boris Johnson, will inherit a Commons majority of just three, which will fall to two if the Conservatives lose the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election next month.

It will be reduced even further, to one, if Mr Elphicke is forced to stand down as an MP and Labour capture his seat, which is a marginal constituency.

In response to the charges, the MP’s solicitor, Ellen Peart, said: “Charlie Elphicke has said from the outset that he denies any wrongdoing. He will defend himself vigorously and is confident that he will clear his name.

“Meanwhile Charlie would like to thank everyone for their continued support of him and his family.

“There will be no further comment at this stage.”

After being readmitted to the party late last year, Mr Elphicke wrote on Twitter: “Important for my constituents to know that, 13 months after having it withdrawn, I have been given back the Conservative whip.

“I remain as confident as I always have been of clearing my name and will continue to work as hard for Dover and Deal as I always have done.”

The decision to restore the whip provoked an angry backlash.

Labour MP Jess Phillips called the move “totally despicable” and Dawn Butler, the shadow equalities minister, said it was “a betrayal of women”.

The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment.

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