Disgraced former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke who was jailed for sexual assault has revealed that he is unemployed and plans to make a Universal Credit claim.
The former MP for Dover, who was released from prison in September, spoke of his financial woes during a court appearance on Friday over unpaid costs.
Mr Elphicke, who was branded a ‘sexual predator’ by his sentencing judge, served half of his two-year jail sentence for three sexual assaults on two younger women.
The 50-year-old’s Friday appearance Uxbridge Magistrates’ Crown Court was over his non-payment of a £35,000 sum, that he has now been ordered to pay within a year towards the cost of the prosecution.
The former Government whip, who is on licence until next year, he offered to repay his debt at £1 per month, which the court rejected.
Charlie Elphicke (pictured) who was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault in September 2020, appeared in Uxbridge Magistrates’ Crown Court on Friday over the non-payment of £35,000. He told the court he is making a Universal Credit claim
‘I find myself in a very difficult and embarrassed position,’ he 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’.
He said he had paid six months’ rent up front for a one-bedroom flat, valued online at nearly £475,000, in Fulham, south-west London, adding: ‘That is why I have very limited cash to meet my living expenses.’
‘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 told the court he had worked with the Step Change debt charity to assess his financial situation but the £1-a-month repayment proposal was not accepted by the court.
‘I have no job, I have no career, I am long-term unemployed,’ said Elphicke. ‘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.’
The sentencing judge, Mrs Justice Whipple, said the sum would ‘otherwise fall on the public purse’. ‘You have substantial equity in your family home, which is currently up for sale,’ she told him.
Elphicke’s barrister Ian Winter QC had told the court his client had ‘a fair bit of debt’, and that his estranged wife, Natalie Elphicke, now the MP for Dover, loaned him £100,000 to pay for legal bills.
The former Government whip, who is on licence until next year, was summonsed to attend Uxbridge Magistrates’ Crown Court (pictured, file photo) on Friday for the non-payment. There, he offered to repay his debt at £1 per month, which the court rejected
Magistrates agreed to adjourn the case to December 17, while Elphicke is waiting for his benefits claim to be assessed, with a payment order expected to be made at the next hearing.
Chair of the bench Andrew Gell said: ‘It does not seem clear as what will be possible over the next 12 months so I think we wait until Universal Credit has been done, adjourning the matter until that has been completed and look at the matter again.’
In March, Elphicke lost a Court of Appeal challenge against his jail term after his lawyers argued the sentence was too long and should have been suspended.
The sentencing judge at the time described Elphicke as a ‘sexual predator’ who used his ‘success and respectability as a cover’ and told a ‘pack of lies’.
During his trial, jurors heard how he 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.’
In the wake of the case, the Commons Standards Committee found five Conservatives, including his wife Natalie, had breached the code of conduct over an ‘egregious’ attempt to influence his legal proceedings.
Elphicke’s barrister Ian Winter QC had told the court his client had ‘a fair bit of debt’, and that his estranged wife, Natalie Elphicke (pictured in the house of commons in July), now the MP for Dover, loaned him £100,000 to pay for legal bills
As a result Mrs Elphicke, Sir Roger Gale and Theresa Villiers were suspended from the House of Commons for a day.
They, along with Bob Stewart and Adam Holloway, had written to senior members of the judiciary raising concerns that a more junior judge was considering publishing character references provided for Mr Elphicke.
Elphicke became a Government whip during David Cameron’s premiership in 2015 but returned to the backbenches when Theresa May came to power the following year.
He had the 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 Mrs May.
The whip was withdrawn again the following summer when the Crown Prosecution Service announced its decision to charge Elphicke.