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Ex-Tory MP jailed for sexual assault now claiming benefit as he tells court he can’t pay costs

An ex-Conservative MP who was jailed for sexual assault has revealed he is unemployed and currently making a Universal Credit claim as he was hauled before a court over unpaid costs.

Charlie Elphicke, the former Dover MP, was released from prison in September after serving half his two-year jail sentence for three sexual assaults on two younger women.

The 50-year-old, who was branded a “sexual predator” by his sentencing judge, has now made a further court appearance over his non-payment of £35,000.

Elphicke had been ordered to pay the sum within a year towards the costs of the prosecution.

Natalie Elphicke says their marriage is over

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Natalie Elphicke replaced her estanged husband as MP for Dover

Appearing at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Crown Court on Friday, the former government whip – who is currently on licence until next year – said he had “very limited cash to meet my living expenses” due to his having to pay six months’ rent up front for a one-bedroom flat, valued online at nearly £475,000, in Fulham, southwest London.

“I find myself in a very difficult and embarrassed position,” Elphicke told magistrates, who he urged to “give me time to the end of my sentence to get myself back on my feet”.

The court heard Elphicke received £51,000 from the sale of his marital home, but most of the money has been used “in legal fees and to pay rent”.

“I have made a claim for Universal Credit that is currently being processed,” Elphicke said. “They are going to come back to me on December 12 to make sure I can pay the rent in an ongoing way.”

He added: “I have no job, I have no career, I am long-term unemployed. I am working with the job centre and my probation officer to find a new career.

“I have made a claim for Universal Credit. I am separated from my wife who has filed for divorce. I have had to find a new place to live.”

Barrister Ian Winter QC had told the court his client had “a fair bit of debt”, and that his estranged wife, Natalie Elphicke, who replaced him as the MP for Dover, loaned him £100,000 to pay for legal bills.

Magistrates agreed to adjourn the case to 17 December, while Elphicke is waiting for his benefits claim to be assessed, with a payment order expected to be made at the next hearing.

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During his trial, jurors heard how Elphicke had asked one of his victims about bondage and sex, then kissed her and groped her breast before chasing her around his home, chanting: “I’m a naughty Tory.”

When he was sentenced, the judge said Elphicke had used his “success and respectability as a cover”.

Elphicke had “told a pack of lies – not only to the jury, but your wife, the whips and the police”, the sentencing judge added.

He had the Conservative Party whip suspended in 2017 when allegations of sexual assault first emerged, but it was controversially reinstated a year later for a crucial confidence vote in then-prime minister Theresa May.

The whip was withdrawn again the following summer when the Crown Prosecution Service announced its decision to charge Elphicke.