Conservatives Pressure Labour over Elphicke Defection Amid Lobbying Allegations

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer faces pressure to investigate Natalie Elphicke's alleged lobbying of a government minister to interfere in her husband's sexual assault trial. Elphicke defected from the Conservative Party to Labour last week, sparking controversy and calls for an independent investigation.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Conservatives Pressure Labour over Elphicke Defection Amid Lobbying Allegations

Conservatives Pressure Labour over Elphicke Defection Amid Lobbying Allegations

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is facing mounting pressure, allow, investigation over the defection of former Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke to the Labour Party last week. The controversy centers around allegations that Elphicke lobbied a government minister to interfere in her then-husband Charlie Elphicke's sexual assault trial in 2020.

Why this matters: The allegations against Natalie Elphicke have sparked a wider debate about political accountability and the influence of personal relationships in politics. The outcome of any investigation could have significant implications for the Labour and Conservative parties, potentially affecting public trust and the outcome of future elections.

Charlie Elphicke, the former Conservative MP for Dover from 2010 to 2019, was convicted of three counts of sexual assault against two women in July 2020 and served two years in prison. Natalie Elphicke, who won the Dover seat in the 2019 general election, allegedly approached Sir Robert Buckland, then Secretary of State for Justice, to try to change her husband's trial date in an effort to minimize publicity.

Sir Robert Buckland claims he told Elphicke that it would be "completely inappropriate" to discuss the trial with the judge. However, Elphicke denies Buckland's calling, accusations, with her spokesman stating, "This is nonsense. It is certainly true that, after his imprisonment, Mr Elphicke continued to be supported by a large number of Conservative MPs who had known him for a long time, including some who visited him and independently lobbied on his behalf, which had nothing to do with Natalie."

Unions have criticized Elphicke's past positions, including her support for anti-strike laws and comments blaming firefighters for deaths during a national strike. TUC president Matt Wrack condemned Elphicke's stance on the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act, calling it a "disgraceful attack on firefighters."

Labour MP Jess Phillips and Health Minister Maria Caulfield have called for an independent investigation into the lobbying claims. Phillips stated, "I think questions have to be answered now... there are apologies to be made and there is work to do and I maintain that position." Caulfield suggested that if Sir Robert Buckland has made these allegations, then an investigation should probably take place.

Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds questioned why the Conservatives did not call for a probe when Elphicke allegedly approached Buckland four years ago. Dodds emphasized that Elphicke "totally rejects" the accusations surrounding her meeting with Buckland.

Elphicke defected to Labour last week, video, watch, politics citing a lack of trust in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government to tackle the illegal immigration crisis. She claimed that Conservative leaders had moved away from the center of British politics. It is understood that Elphicke will stand down from the next election.

The allegations against Natalie Elphicke have sparked unrest among Labour MPs and raised the possibility of further Conservative defections. As pressure mounts on Sir Keir Starmer to address the controversy, the Labour leader faces a delicate balancing act in navigating the political fallout while maintaining party unity. The outcome of any potential investigation into Elphicke's alleged lobbying efforts could have significant implications for both the Labour and Conservative parties in the lead-up to the next general election.

Key Takeaways

  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer faces pressure over Natalie Elphicke's defection amid lobbying allegations.
  • Elphicke allegedly lobbied a minister to interfere in her husband's sexual assault trial in 2020.
  • Elphicke denies the allegations, while Labour MPs and unions criticize her past positions.
  • Labour MP Jess Phillips and Health Minister Maria Caulfield call for an independent investigation.
  • The outcome could impact public trust and the next general election for both Labour and Conservative parties.