Charlie Elphicke is the first Conservative MP to be suspended from the party whip since allegations started emerging 10 days ago © PA
The Conservative party on Friday suspended Charlie Elphicke, the MP for Dover and Deal, from the party whip and referred “serious” allegations against him to the police, at the end of a week in Westminster that has been dominated by allegations of sexual misconduct.
The move to suspend Mr Elphicke was one of the first actions in office of Julian Smith, appointed chief whip only on Thursday in a reshuffle forced by the resignation of Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, also over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Mr Smith replaced Gavin Williamson, who took over as defence secretary from Sir Michael.
Mr Elphicke said that the party had told the media of his suspension before they had informed him. “I am not aware of what the alleged claims are and deny any wrongdoing,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mr Elphicke is the first Conservative MP to be suspended from the party whip since allegations of sexual misbehaviour started emerging across British politics 10 days ago.
Kelvin Hopkins, a Labour MP, has been suspended pending investigations of his behaviour towards a young party activist, while Carl Sargeant, a member of the Welsh government, has also been suspended. Jared O’Mara, Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam, was suspended last week over homophobic and racist slurs.
Damian Green, first secretary of state, and Mark Garnier, a junior trade minister, await the outcomes of official investigations. Mr Green vigorously denies any wrongdoing.
“I have suspended the Conservative party whip from Charlie Elphicke MP following serious allegations that have been referred to the police,” Mr Smith said in a statement.
It is unclear what the allegations against Mr Elphicke are. A Conservative source on Friday would not say whether the claims against Mr Elphicke related to sexual misbehaviour or something else.
Mr Elphicke, 46, has been the MP for Dover and Deal since the 2010 general election. He has been a strident voice on the party’s Eurosceptic right and has regularly voiced particular concern at the potential effects of Brexit on the Port of Dover, the UK’s busiest ferry port.
He is the second Conservative to be suspended from the party whip since June’s general election. Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot, was suspended in July after using a racist term in public.