Former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke agreed to pay a woman £5,000 after allegedly sexually assaulting her, withdrawing the money in small amounts to prevent his wife from finding out, a court heard.
The 49-year-old father-of-two – married to Dover MP Natalie Elphicke – said it was the complainant’s demand to be paid “compensation” after the alleged incident at his family home in central London in 2007.
Elphicke said he believed the woman “wanted to take matters further” after they shared a bottle of wine while Mrs Elphicke was away on business, and said he had been “under a misapprehension” in making advances towards her.
He later told police in interview that he had “to live with” the allegation for the last decade.
The woman, in her early 30s at the time, alleged Elphicke tried to kiss her, groped her breast, then chased her around his home while trying to grab her bottom.
A second woman, a parliamentary worker in her early 20s, has accused Elphicke of two sexual assaults in 2016.
Neither woman can be identified due to laws granting anonymity to alleged victims of sexual offences.
Excerpts from Elphicke’s interview with police in March 2018 were played during his trial at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday.
In them he said the woman asked him not to tell his wife about the 2007 incident and to pay her £5,000.
He said: “I said we should tell Natalie. She said she didn’t want Natalie to know.
“I got it (the £5,000) in smaller amounts – £500, £1,000 – because she was insistent Natalie shouldn’t know.”
Asked if he had ever told his wife about the payments, Elphicke told police: “No.”
Elphicke also described his “shock” at being named on a so-called internal “sleaze list” of MPs in 2017, some details of which were later published in the press.
Asked by police whether he had any concerns about that list, Elphicke said: “Obviously, yes.
“When I found out, I was very concerned. I think everyone on there was very, very concerned.
“I’m suddenly being phoned up and being told I’m being suspended for unspecified allegations.
“I asked what these allegations were and the chief whip would not tell me.
“So I’ve had four months where I have not known what the allegations against me are and obviously, that has caused me much fear, much concern and I think it unnecessary to have been in this situation for so long without having been able to answer any case against me.”
Elphicke told police he was accompanied by former attorney general Dominic Grieve for a second meeting with the deputy chief whip Anne Milton after the parliamentary worker complained, in which Mr Grieve apparently “castigated” them for the way their investigation into Elphicke was conducted.
Elphicke told police: “The general conduct was not a fair and proper process.”
He also described how the first alleged incident happened and said that he stopped immediately when the woman told him to.
“The atmosphere was very warm and convivial and I believed she wanted to take matters further,” he said.
“I leaned over and kissed her.
“At first she responded positively, then it became clear it was not what she wanted.”
The woman later alleged Elphicke chased her round the house chanting “I’m a naughty Tory”.
Of the second allegation, in Parliament nearly a decade later, Elphicke said: “If it had happened, she (the complainant) would have immediately made a complaint.
“You remember in Parliament the place has got a lot of policemen on every corner.”
Elphicke, who was Dover MP from 2010 until 2019 when he was succeeded by his wife, denies the charges.
The trial continues.