Kent

Charlie Elphicke: Tory MP charged with sexual assault

Charlie Elphicke Image copyright PA
Image caption Charlie Elphicke is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 6 September

A Conservative MP has been charged with three counts of sexual assault against two women.

Charlie Elphicke, the MP for Dover, is alleged to have assaulted one woman in 2007 and a second woman twice in 2016.

Mr Elphicke, 48, is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 6 September.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said it had made the decision to charge Mr Elphicke "after reviewing a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police".

Mr Elphicke will sit as an independent MP in the House of Commons after the Conservative Party again suspended the party whip following the charges.

The whip was originally suspended in November 2017 after "serious allegations" against him were referred to police, but was reinstated in December 2018 ahead of a vote of confidence in Theresa May.

The Tories' majority in the Commons, where the party has the support of the DUP, is now down to two, with the prospect of a further cut if the party loses a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire on 1 August.

In a statement, 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."

Mr Elphicke has represented his constituency since 2010 and was a government whip from 2015 to 2016.

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