Natalie Elphicke apologises for supporting sex offender ex-husband after concerns from new party

Politics

The MP who defected from the Tories to Labour yesterday has apologised for comments she made supporting her ex-husband after he was convicted of sexual assault.

After former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke was jailed for two years in 2020 for assaulting two women, Natalie Elphicke told the Sun the fact he was “attractive” and “attracted to women” had made him an “easy target for dirty politics and false allegations”.

She called the trial unfair and said the allegations were “complete nonsense” and called her ex-husband “charming, wealthy, charismatic and successful”.

Several Labour MPs said they were not comfortable having an MP in their party who has defended a sex offender.

Jess Phillips, former shadow domestic violence minister, said Mrs Elphicke should “account for her actions”.

Just over 24 hours after defecting, Mrs Elphicke released a statement apologising for her comments.

She said: “My decision to join the Labour Party is not one I have taken lightly but one I made because I am convinced that this country needs a new government led by Keir Starmer to fix the problems we see from housing to small boats.

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“I always knew that this decision would put a spotlight on the prosecution of my ex-husband and I want to address some of the commentary around this head on.

“The period of 2017-2020 was an incredibly stressful and difficult one for me as I learned more about the person I thought I knew. I know it was far harder for the women who had to relive their experiences and give evidence against him.

Read more: Natalie Elphicke defends MP husband after conviction

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Defecting Tory MP crosses floor to Labour

“I have previously, and do, condemn his behaviour towards other women and towards me. It was right that he was prosecuted and I’m sorry for the comments that I made about his victims.

“It is vital that women can have confidence in the criminal justice system and our rates of prosecution and conviction are far too low as a country.

“Keir Starmer’s mission to halve male violence against women and girls is critical and I wanted to take the opportunity to express my explicit support for Labour colleagues working to realise it.”

Mrs Elphicke ended her marriage to Mr Elphicke moments after he was convicted but supported his unsuccessful appeal, which is when she made the “attractive” comments.

She had supported him until he was convicted and was seen entering the court with him most days of his trial.

After he stepped down as an MP she stood in his Dover seat and won with a large majority.

She will not be standing again in the next election.

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