Published: 13:51, 28 July 2020
| Updated: 13:54, 28 July 2020
The jury has retired in the trial of former MP Charlie Elphicke who stands accused of sexual assault.
Elphicke, 49, who has been succeeded as MP for Dover and Deal by wife Natalie, denies all three allegations made against him.
One dates to 2007 and two, against a second alleged victim, to 2016.
The trial began at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, July 6.
Since then the jury has heard details of the allegations, including about an incident in 2007 where Elphicke is alleged to have chased a victim while chanting "I'm a naughty Tory" in a singsong voice.
He also told the court how his marriage to wife Natalie, who succeeded him as MP for Dover and Deal, "hangs by a thread".
Elphicke told how he was unfaithful to his wife but denied sexually assaulting two other women.
He said Mrs Elphicke only found out he had feelings for one complainant in March this year when she began looking at files related to the case.
Elphicke said he was “embarrassed” by his texts to the woman, a parliamentary worker, telling the court: “I lost my head.”
He said: “I didn’t know how to tell Natalie I had developed an emotional attachment.
“I thought she would be very hurt … I lost my head. I didn’t want to put my marriage in jeopardy, and it would – it would cause chaos.”
Elphicke told jurors at Southwark Crown Court he had a sexual relationship with a woman, from 2015, but had not told his wife.
She is not a complainant in the case.
He told jurors: “After I was suspended, there were a lot of rumours. She (Mrs Elphicke) challenged me about it.
“I basically denied it.”
He added: “I didn’t think I could explain to Natalie – I didn’t think my marriage would survive this.”
Elphicke said he also initially lied to police about the extent of his feelings for the second complainant.
His wife, a solicitor, went through material in the case in March this year which revealed the truth, the court heard.
Elphicke said: “She said she thought I had an affair and she had it out with me. I said I had not had an affair but I propositioned (the second complainant).
“She was very upset. It was very, very difficult.”
Referring to his wife, Elphicke told the court: “She comes into court with me every day. She’s supporting me throughout proceedings. But things are not good. It hangs by a thread.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do. She’s most upset that I didn’t tell her at the outset.”
He added: “I’ve made a complete mess of everything.
“I should not have lied to the police, I should have just fronted it up. I should have told the whole truth rather than half of the truth.”
Elphicke is also accused of groping a woman in her 30s.
Earlier the court heard he had chased the first complainant around his London home in 2007 chanting “I’m a naughty Tory”.
Father-of-two Elphicke told police he kissed the woman but stopped as soon as she said it was not what she wanted.
He told jurors: “In a moment of extreme stupidity I forgot who I was… I forgot where I was.
“I kissed her. And she kissed me back.”
The second complainant claimed Elphicke had groped her breast and ran his hand up her leg in separate incidents in 2016.
Earlier in the trial, the MP said he was “in complete shock” told by a colleague of the complaints against him.
He said he was called to a meeting with Anne Milton, deputy chief whip at the time, after she had been informed of allegations against him in 2016.
Elphicke, 49, said the incidents did not happen.
In a recording of police questioning from March 2018 played to the trial, Elphicke told officers: “I would have spent most of the interview in complete shock with allegations being made against me.
“I had no notice about any of the allegations and I had no legal representation.”
Jurors heard that Elphicke told police he was accompanied by former attorney general Dominic Grieve for a second meeting with Mrs Milton, in which Mr Grieve apparently “castigated” the whips for the way their investigation into Elphicke was conducted.
The married father-of-two was suspended as a Lord Commissioner of the Treasury - also known as a government whip - on November 3, 2017, after the allegations were made to police.
But, on December 12, 2018, the Conservative whip was reinstated before a confidence vote in Theresa May before, once again, being withdrawn in July when he was charged.