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Ex-Tory MP Charlie Elphicke who was jailed for sexually assaulting two women has told a hearing to check on his progress in repaying £35,000 in court costs that he was considering work on a building site to come up with the money.
The 51-year-old former Dover MP presented Universal Credit and bank statements during an appearance at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Friday to prove he is still unable to pay.
Elphicke told the court he had been living on “a hand-to-mouth basis” on welfare and trying to find “any form of employment”.
“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.”
He said he was “industriously writing” and hoping to publish books “in due course”, with the Feltham job centre in west London monitoring his progress weekly.
The former Government whip was released half-way through his sentence last September, having been jailed for two years in 2020 after being found guilty of three counts of sexual assault following a month-long trial.
He was ordered to repay the £35,000 in prosecution costs within a year, but after asking for more time to “get back on my feet” at the same court last December, was given until September 15 this year.
The court heard that Elphicke, who is living in a one-bedroom flat in Hammersmith, has no savings or assets, having spent “everything” on his defence.
Asked by magistrates if he had considered stacking shelves at a supermarket to repay the sum, he said he was “giving active consideration to exactly that” and “actively looking at building site work”.
Elphicke, a former lawyer, said he was in a “very difficult and embarrassing situation”.
He said: “I don’t particularly enjoy living in this circumstance.
“I’m very committed not to be staying in this position”.
Magistrate Ian Chick said he was “perturbed by the lack of payment” so far and ordered the defendant to contribute £200 a month before paying the whole amount by the September deadline.
Last year, his barrister Ian Winter QC said his client had “a fair bit of debt”, and that his estranged wife, Natalie Elphicke, now the MP for Dover, loaned him £100,000 to pay for legal bills.
It was heard that he received £51,000 from the sale of his marital home but most of the money had been used in legal fees and to pay rent.
The sentencing judge in his trial described Elphicke as a “sexual predator” who used his “success and respectability as a cover” and told a “pack of lies”.
Jurors heard how he had asked one of his victims about bondage and sex, then kissed her and groped her breast before chasing her around his home, chanting: “I’m a naughty Tory.”
His latest hearing comes amid renewed accusations of sexual misconduct in Parliament, including claims that a Tory MP watched pornography in the Commons chamber and reports that 56 MPs, including three Cabinet ministers, are facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
Elphicke, a Government whip during David Cameron’s premiership, had the party whip suspended in 2017 when allegations of sexual assault first emerged but it was controversially reinstated a year later for a confidence vote in then-prime minister Theresa May.
The whip was withdrawn again the following summer when the Crown Prosecution Service announced its decision to charge Elphicke.