Published: 17:17, 21 January 2020
| Updated: 16:43, 03 February 2020
Dover's first woman MP paid tribute to her predecessor in her maiden speech - her own husband.
Natalie Elphicke took over after her spouse Charlie stood down to fight allegations of sexual assault.
He has consistently denied the charges and will confront the crown court trial this summer.
Conservative Mrs Elphicke, in the House of Commons yesterday, spoke of his "extraordinary legacy of hard work and delivery.”
She said his first achievement had been turning the tables on his Labour rival when he first won the seat in the 2010 General Election.
Incumbent Gwyn Prosser was defending his majority of 4,941 but Mr Elphicke took the constituency with a majority of 5,274.
She said: “Turning a 5,000 majority against to a 5,000 majority for the Conservatives was a remarkable victory against the odds.
“And this is his trademark in politics: time and again winning against the odds and delivering for those he represented.
“Early on he engaged in hand-to-hand political combat to see off the planned sale of the Port of Dover to the French or whoever.
“Since 2010, more than £500 million of investment has swept into Dover and Deal including a brand new hospital in Dover and the fast train to Deal.
"Some people said these would never happen – but Charlie delivered, against the odds.”
Mr Elphicke won the seat thee times with healthy majorities, the best being 6,437 in his last General Election fight in 2017.
But his wife was elected to Dover and Deal in the December 12 poll with a majority of 12,278.
Mrs Elphicke hailed her constituency as a place full of “wonderful communities” as well as the “guardian, gateway and custodian.”
She said: “For centuries Dover has stood at the frontline as guardian, gateway and custodian.
"At this historic time, as we leave the European Union and reclaim our independent place in the world, Dover remains as important as it has ever been in the past, present and future of our great nation."
Rounding off her maiden speech, Mrs Elphicke pointed to her background as showing what can be achieved with hard work, ambition and shared prosperity and opportunity.
She said: “I have always been committed to decent housing and improving life chances. I am one of a growing number of MPs on these benches who started life in the safety and security afforded by a council house.
“And my education at a Catholic faith primary and a grammar school transformed my life chances and indeed my life.
“Growing up in the 1980s I was one of a generation who benefited from a time of national ambition, shared prosperity and opportunity for all, where hard work could bring rewards.
“I am committed to providing for others the tools for social mobility and opportunity that were given to me.
“This is an historic time for our nation. As the representative of Dover and Deal, on the Brexit frontline, I am looking forward to the independent, successful, prosperous and strong country that we can build together in the decades to come.”
Outside politics Mrs Elphicke is by profession a finance lawyer specialising in housing finance.
She has also worked on Conservative policy development.
She wrote the 2010 report Housing People: Financing Housing for the Tory think-tank Policy Exchange.
Charlie Elphicke appears at Southwark Crown Court on June 29.
He faces three charges of sexual assault, one allegedly on a woman in 2007 and two said to be on a second woman in in 2016.
He has pleaded not guilty to all these allegations.
More by this authorSam Lennon