Monday 16 September 2019

Tory MP is charged with three sex assaults

Denials: Charlie Elphicke says he is confident of clearing his name. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Denials: Charlie Elphicke says he is confident of clearing his name. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Henry Vaughan and Georgina Stubbs

A BRITISH MP has been charged with sexually assaulting two women.

Charlie Elphicke (48) is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 6.

The MP for Dover was charged with three counts of sexual assault relating to two alleged victims yesterday, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

He is alleged to have attacked the first woman in 2007 and the second woman twice in 2016.

Mr Elphicke denies any wrongdoing, will "defend himself vigorously" and is confident that he will clear his name, his lawyer said.

A source close to the MP said: "Charlie believes he has been fitted up - he has co-operated with this inquiry for 20 months.

"At the outset he gave them electronic and paper documents which proved the allegations were fabricated.

"He is stunned to have been charged, maintains 100pc innocence and is confident he will be cleared."

The CPS said Mr Elphicke was charged after "reviewing a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police".

"The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Elphicke are now active and that he has a right to a fair trial," a statement said.

Mr Elphicke's solicitor, Ellen Peart, a partner at BCL Law, 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."

Mr Elphicke was suspended from the Conservative Party in November 2017 after "serious allegations" against him were referred to police.

Theresa May controversially restored the Tory whip to him 13 months later, in December, before she faced a vote of no confidence.

At the time, Labour MP Jess Phillips accused the prime minister of putting "political power" ahead of protecting alleged victims.

Mr Elphicke, who is believed to have voted against Mrs May in the no-confidence vote, tweeted in December: "Important for my constituents to know that, 13 months after having it withdrawn, I have been given back the Conservative Whip.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."

Mr Elphicke's constituency association chairman, Keith Single, said: "Throughout the last 20 months since these allegations were first made, Charlie has had our full support.

"That support will continue."

Irish Independent

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