‘Denial of justice’ - Dover MP Charlie Elphicke slams Conservative Party handling of his suspension as he speaks out over ‘serious allegations’
PUBLISHED: 18:00 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:12 09 November 2017
Mr Elphicke remains unaware of the claims against him, after the whip was withdrawn last Friday, and denies any wrongdoing
Charlie Elphicke has slammed the Tories’ handling of his suspension as “a denial of justice” in an extraordinary speech delivered to his local Conservative Association tonight.
The Dover and Deal MP had the party whip withdrawn last week over “serious allegations” which were passed onto the police.
Mr Elphicke said in a tweet on Friday that the media had been informed of the suspension before he had, that he was unaware of the nature of the allegations and denied any wrongdoing.
In a speech to the executive of the Dover and Deal Conservative Association this evening, Mr Elphicke said he had not received any further information in the subsequent days, only being told that chief whip Julian Smith and prime minister Theresa May had decided he should be suspended.
“So extraordinary as it may seem, I am no wiser now than I was on Friday evening when the chief whip called me,” he said.
“But let me say some things about the way our party has handled this. First, I want to echo what the Labour MP Chris Bryant has said: ‘If this fortnight teaches anything it is there must be a fair proper process for those who feel they have been harassed or abused and fair due process for those facing allegations.’
“I think that’s spot-on. The fact is that this whole area of reporting misconduct and managing allegations of misconduct is a mess.
“I have every sympathy with people who have been harassed or victimised and feel they have nowhere to turn. That is a denial of justice.
“It is also a denial of justice when people who have had allegations made against them, lose their job or their party whip without knowing what those allegations are.
“I believe this is fundamentally wrong. Wrong because it’s an injustice to those who stand accused. But also wrong because it undermines our values as a country.
“We believe in the rule of law – that everyone, be they so very high or so very low, should be equal before the law. We believe in the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise. We believe in natural justice.
“So, I ask you: was it in line with our values as a country that the media were told of allegations made against me last week before I was?
“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 my getting a fair hearing?
“Finally let me say that whatever it turns out I stand accused of, I deny any criminal wrongdoing. I have always done my best to work hard for our community – and will continue to do so.
“I have always put all my energy into fighting for the people of Dover and Deal – and will continue to do so. For me, the interests of the people of Dover & Deal will always come first.”
Mr Single said: “Charlie Elphicke is the best MP Dover and Deal has ever had. As far as we are concerned, he is innocent until proven otherwise.
“Charlie Elphicke is a hard-working, professional and dedicated MP who campaigns tirelessly for his constituents.
“We have still not been told what these allegations are and will not be commenting any further at this stage.”