The disgraced former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has said he is in a “very difficult and embarrassed position” of being on universal credit and unable to pay £35,000 following his sentence for sexually assaulting two women.
Elphicke, who represented the Kent constituency of Dover from 2010 until last year, was released halfway through his sentence earlier this year, having been jailed for two years in September 2020. He was also ordered to pay £35,000 within a year towards the costs of the prosecution.
But the former government whip, who is on licence until next year, was summonsed to attend Uxbridge magistrates court on Friday for non-payment.
“I find myself in a very difficult and embarrassed position,” he told the court, asking magistrates to “give me time to the end of my sentence to get myself back on my feet”.
The court heard that most of the £51,000 Elphicke received from the sale of his marital home had been used in legal fees and to pay six months’ rent up front for a one-bedroom flat in Fulham, south-west London.
He told the court he had worked with the Step Change debt charity to assess his financial situation but a 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 jobcentre 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.”
Elphicke was convicted in July of three charges, two in relation to a parliamentary worker in 2016 and one in relation to a woman at his family’s central London home in 2007. The sentencing judge described Elphicke as “a sexual predator who used […] success and respectability as a cover”.
During the trial, jurors heard that his first victim had suffered a “terrifying episode” when he assaulted her, then chased her round his home chanting: “I’m a naughty Tory”.
In Maart, 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.
In the wake of the case, the Commons Standards Committee found five Conservatives had breached the code of conduct over an “egregious” attempt to influence his legal proceedings. They were his wife, Natalie, who stood for office and became the Conservative MP for Dover after her husband did not stand in 2019, Sir Roger Gale, Theresa Villiers, Bob Stewart and Adam Holloway.
Magistrates agreed to adjourn the case to 17 Desember, while Elphicke is waiting for his benefits claim to be assessed, with a payment order expected to be made at the next hearing.