Former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two women.
The 49-year-old, who represented Dover from 2010 to 2019, was accused of three counts of sexual assault against the women, and stood trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.
He was found guilty of all three on Thursday, and sighed and looked at his lawyer when the jury’s unanimous verdict was returned.
Elphicke is due to be sentenced on 15 September and the judge, Justice Whipple, said: “All options remain very much on the table, including the possibility of an immediate custodial sentence.”
The first sexual assault charge related to an incident in Elphicke's London home in summer 2007, when he was accused of kissing and groping a woman in her early 30s while his wife, Natalie Elphicke, was away for the night.
The complainant, who cannot be identified, said Elphicke then chased her round his home, chanting: "I'm a naughty Tory.”
The second complainant, a parliamentary worker in her early 20s, who also cannot be identified, alleged Elphicke tried to kiss her then groped her after sharing a drink in Westminster in April 2016.
He allegedly told her afterwards: "I'm so naughty sometimes.”
The same woman alleges Elphicke ran his hand up her thigh towards her groin the following month.
Elphicke told jurors he was under a "misapprehension" when he kissed the first woman in 2007, and stopped the moment it became clear she did not welcome his advances.
He denied groping and chasing her.
Elphicke told jurors he wanted an affair with the parliamentary worker, but denied sexually assaulting her, telling the court he had not touched the woman inappropriately.
“I felt very strongly about her. She was really lovely and I lost my head over her,” he said.
The father-of-two was accompanied to court each day by his wife, his successor as Dover MP in 2019, but told jurors he is struggling to save his marriage.
Elphicke said: “It hangs by a thread. I’ve made a complete mess of everything.”
Natalie only found out about his desire for an affair with the parliamentary worker when she examined the case details during the coronavirus lockdown, he said.
She accompanied him to the trial every day, he told the court, but she never gave evidence and did not sit in the courtroom as her husband gave evidence, instead sitting in a quiet side room.
Elphicke told jurors he had an affair with a woman in her 20s between 2015 and 2017. She also cannot be identified for legal reasons.
However, jurors decided Elphicke was guilty of sexual offences, not infidelity, against two women.
The tax lawyer entered parliament in 2010 and in 2015 was made a whip for David Cameron’s government, responsible for party discipline.
He became a backbencher under Theresa May’s premiership a year later and the parliamentary worker, who challenged Elphicke about groping her, said the demotion “humbled him massively”.
The party whip was suspended from Elphicke in 2017 when the sexual assault allegations were passed to police, though it was reinstated a year later when May faced a confidence vote. It was removed again later.
Prosecutor Eloise Marshall QC accused Elphicke of lying to the jury in denials that he assaulted the two women a decade apart.
She said witness testimonies from the complainants were "almost identical" to each other, despite being from two women who did not know each other.