Who is Natalie Elphicke?

Politics

It has been fewer than two years since Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told Tory MP Natalie Elphicke to “f*** off” for criticising Marcus Rashford at the Euros. Now they are colleagues.

Ms Elphicke crossed the floor of the House of Commons to join Labour ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions, causing a stir on both sides of the House.

The Dover MP has long been critical of the Labour Party – especially on immigration – but she now says the party has “changed out of all recognition” and is trying to create “a Britain everyone can be a part of”.

Politics latest: ‘Extraordinary’ Tory defection to Labour

Ms Elphicke added that the Conservatives “ousted” Boris Johnson in a “coup led by the unelected Rishi Sunak” – with the party now a “byword for incompetence and division”.

So who is Natalie Elphicke, what are her policies, and why did she defect?

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Defecting Tory MP crosses floor to Labour

Who is Natalie Elphicke?

Professionally a solicitor, Ms Elphicke was long involved in Conservative Party politics, working with thinktanks and on policy goals.

She was not selected to contest a parliamentary seat until 2019 – despite trying before – although the opportunity emerged from scandal.

Her now ex-husband, Charlie Elphicke, had been the Conservative MP for Dover, but he was arrested, charged and eventually convicted of three counts of sexual assault in 2020.

Rishi Sunak and Natalie Elphicke in June 2023, as the prime minister claimed his plan to stop the boats was working
Image:
Rishi Sunak and Natalie Elphicke in June 2023, as the prime minister claimed his plan to stop the boats was working

The court heard he had chased one woman around his house while chanting “I’m a naughty Tory”.

Ms Elphicke contested the Dover seat in 2019 for the Conservatives after her husband’s arrest, and almost doubled the majority to 12,278.

She previously announced she would not be standing in the next general election, and campaigned for Liz Truss to become prime minister in 2022.

Former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke, with his wife, MP for Dover Natalie Elphicke
Image:
Former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke with Natalie. Pic: PA

What are her policies?

Ms Elphicke has been outspoken on migration, especially as the MP for Dover.

It was alongside Ms Elphicke that Rishi Sunak announced his plan to stop small boats crossing the English Channel was working in Dover last year.

In the minutes after her defection, Conservative MPs began sharing previous statements from Ms Elphicke.

For example, in April 2023, Ms Elphicke wrote in the Daily Express that Labour’s attempts to stop the Rwanda deportation scheme was “dangerous” – and that Sir Keir Starmer wanted to create “loopholes” in the system.

And Tory MPs also shared a social media post from late 2022 in which Ms Elphicke claimed: “A reminder that Labour back fewer and weaker border controls when it comes to illegal arrivals on our shores.”

In the wake of England’s loss in the Euro 2020 final – held in 2021 due to COVID – Ms Elphicke sent a private message which said: “They lost – would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics.”

She later apologised, although when asked about the comments, Ms Reeves said in late 2022 that Ms Elphicke should “f*** off”.


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Why did she defect?

In a statement shared by the Labour Party, Ms Elphicke mentioned Mr Sunak “failing” on keeping “our borders safe and secure”.

She added: “Meanwhile Labour plan to build the homes we need, help young people onto the housing ladder and care about the vulnerable and homeless. That’s why I’m honoured to have been asked to work with Keir and the team to help deliver the homes we need.

“We need to move on from the broken promises of Rishi Sunak’s tired and chaotic government. Britain needs a government that will build a future of hope, optimism, opportunity and fairness.

“A Britain everyone can be part of, that will make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead. That’s why it’s time for change. Time for a Labour government led by Keir Starmer.

“The general election cannot come soon enough.”

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