A former Conservative MP has been found guilty of one count of sexual assault against a woman in 2007, and two further counts against a second woman in 2016.
Appearing in Southwark Crown Court today, Charlie Elphicke was convicted after having denied groping both women. His wife and current MP for the constituency Natalie Elphicke was present at the trial.
Charlie Elphicke was one of two Tories who had the whip restored in 2018, while facing claims of inappropriate sexual behaviour, by the then Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of a vote of no confidence.
At the time, Labour’s then Shadow Women and Equalities Minister Dawn Butler described their reinstatement as a “betrayal of women” and asked “how can Theresa May call herself a feminist?”
The court heard today that Charlie Elphicke had lunged at a woman at his London home in 2007, and that he had force her onto a sofa and groped her breast while trying to kiss her, before chasing her and chanting “I’m a naughty Tory”.
The MP for the South East constituency for nine years reportedly told the court that he had attempted to kiss her “under a misapprehension” after she became “tactile” but denied sexual assault.
The court heard that he had tried to kiss and grope a women in her 20s working in his office on one occasion in 2016. She also told the court that he had run his hand up her thigh towards her groin the following month.
The complainant said the MP had said “I’m so naughty sometimes” after one of these assaults. He is due to be sentenced on September 15th and the judge has said that there is a good chance he will receive an “immediate custodial sentence”.
Natalie Elphicke tweeted this afternoon in response to the outcome of the trial: “Today’s verdict is one that brings profound sorrow. It ends my 25 year marriage to the only man I have ever loved.
“I would ask for some personal space and time to come to terms with the shocking events of the last three years. I will not be commenting further.”
Charlie Elphicke was one of two MPs replaced by their spouse at the 2019 general election after facing misconduct claims. MP for Burton in Staffordshire Kate Griffiths took over from her partner Andrew Griffiths.