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A former MP who was jailed for sexually assaulting two women told a court he is looking at supermarket shelf stacking and building site work to pay back his prosecution costs.
Charlie Elphicke, the former Conservative Dover MP, presented Universal Credit and bank statements during an appearance at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on Friday to prove he still cannot pay the £35,000 in court costs he owes.
The 51-year-old, branded a "sexual predator" by the judge at his 2020 trial, said he has been living on "a hand-to-mouth basis" on welfare and trying to find "any form of employment".
He was ordered to repay the £35,000 in prosecution costs within a year but was given until 15 September this year after asking for more time "to get back on my feet" last December.
Asked by magistrates if he had considered stacking supermarket shelves, the former lawyer said he was "giving active consideration to exactly that" and "actively looking at building site work".
Elphicke, who is living in a one-bedroom flat in Hammersmith, said he has no savings or assets, having spent "everything" on his defence.
He said he was in a "very difficult and embarrassing situation".
"I don't particularly enjoy living in this circumstance," he told the court.
"I'm very committed not to be staying in this position".
He said he was "industriously writing" and hoping to publish books "in due course", with the Feltham job centre monitoring his progress weekly.
"I'm working very closely with my job coach and a creative writing charity," he said.
"The level of flexibility I have in terms of career options is limited."
'I'm a naughty Tory'
The former government whip was released halfway through his two-year sentence last September after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.
Jurors heard he asked one of his victims about bondage and sex, kissed her and groped her breast before chasing her around his house chanting: "I'm a naughty Tory."
The sentencing judge said Elphicke used his "success and respectability as a cover" and told "a pack of lies".
Magistrate Ian Chick said he was "perturbed by the lack of payment" so far and ordered Elphicke to contribute £200 a month before paying the whole amount by 15 September.
Last year, Elphicke's barrister said he had "a fair bit of debt" and his estranged wife Natalie Elphicke, who won his Dover seat, loaned him £100,000 to pay for legal bills.
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He received £51,000 from the sale of their marital home but most of the money was used for legal fees and to pay rent.
Elphicke was a government whip under David Cameron and had the party whip suspended in 2017 following the first sexual assault allegations.
It was controversially reinstated a year later ahead of a confidence vote in then-prime minister Theresa May before the whip was withdrawn again the following summer when he was charged.