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Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke left in limbo a year after sexual offence allegations

By Sam Lennon

An MP has been left in agonising limbo for a year over sexual offence allegations.

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke has never been arrested, charged or prosecuted, for any offence.

Yet neither has he been exonerated, despite police concluding that no action will be taken.

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke
Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke

Because of the allegations, he was suspended from the Conservative Party whip on last November 3 - a year ago today.

That remains in force and Mr Elphicke told KentOnline: “This situation is completely unacceptable.

“However, I continue to carry on with the job as usual, working hard for the people of Dover and Deal and to get things done for our community.”

The Metropolitan Police, despite our questions, has not explained why the process has taken so long or why it took four months to put the allegations to the Mr Elphicke.

Neither has the force said why it did not put another allegation of rape to the MP when he met them on March 12.

A spokesman would say only: “On March 12, 2018, a man was interviewed under caution, by appointment.

"This situation is completely unacceptable" - Charlie Elphicke

“The interview was in connection with an ongoing investigation being carried out into alleged offences of sexual touching.

“At this stage in the investigation the Metropolitan Police Service will not comment further.”

The Met said it would not identify someone who may, or may not, be subject to an investigation unless they have been charged.

Keith Single, chairman of the Dover and Deal Conservative Association, said: “The situation has not changed. Charlie continues to have our full support.”

He insists Mr Elphicke is innocent unless proven otherwise.

The Conservative Party press office failed to comment when contacted.

Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to suspend the Dover and Deal MP a year ago this month
Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to suspend the Dover and Deal MP a year ago this month

Mr Elphicke’s nightmare began just after 9pm on Friday, November 3, when he received a call from a journalist who said he had heard he was having the whip withdrawn.

Minutes later, he received a call from the chief whip telling him "serious allegations" had been made against him earlier that week which had been passed to the police.

Mr Elphicke asked what the allegations were but he wasn’t told.

Instead he was told chief whip Julian Smith and the Prime Minister Theresa May had decided the whip should be suspended from him.

Mr Smith had only been appointed the day before.

Mr Elphicke put out a tweet at 10.37pm that evening denying any wrongdoing and that he was unaware of the claims being made against him.

Speaking at a meeting of Dover and Deal Conservatives, six days later, he said the media had been told of the allegations before he was.

He added: “Was it in line with our values that the presumption of innocence was undermined by the whip being suspended?

“Was it in line with our values to cause prejudice and harm the chances of getting a fair hearing?”

Despite the suspensions he is still the MP for the Dover constituency and a member of the Conservative Party, although has the status of an independent MP and does not have to obey party whips in terms of voting in the House of Commons.

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