09 NOV 2017

Statement to Dover and Deal Conservative Association

On Thursday, November 9th, I made the following statement to the Executive of the Dover and Deal Conservative Association:

I want to start by saying that I wish we were not meeting under these circumstances.

The job of the Member of Parliament is not about the Member of Parliament. It is about what you do, the team you build and what you achieve for the people you serve.

We have come a long way together over the past 10 years. We have achieved much and we should be proud of the change we have made in this community.

Let's remember how things were back in 2010. Our port was about to be sold off. Dover's hospital had been decimated for a decade – services withdrawn and wards axed one by one. Deal's hospital was left teetering on the edge. Deal itself was called a "village" by the Government, unfit for the fast train. Unemployment had rocketed and things looked bleak.

Fast forward to today and there is a brand new hospital in Dover. Deal hospital has been safeguarded. We are now working tirelessly to get more services in both hospitals – to save people long and expensive journeys to hospitals far away. We stopped the port sell off and it is now not just forever England – it has been reformed to bring it closer to the community. The fast train now sweeps into Deal all day, every day and Deal is a town transformed. In Dover Burlington House is gone and a new shopping complex rises in the heart of the town. Unemployment has halved. Ours is a community on the up.

Just this week hundreds of letters have gone out to constituents. Whether it's fighting their corner on issues such as housing, health or getting a decent bus service – this work goes on, and will continue to do so. I am still holding surgeries, doing everything I can to help people. It's business as usual.

I say this because sometimes I need to remind myself as well as our team why we do it and why it's all worth it. And I want to thank you, the entire Conservative family and the many well wishers who are not Conservative supporters who have got in touch in the past week.

So what then is my explanation for what I am accused of? I cannot give one. Because I do not know what I am accused of. I received a call from a journalist just after 9pm on Friday evening saying he had heard I was having the whip withdrawn in time for the 10 O'Clock news and asked me what was going on. I said I had absolutely no idea. Minutes later I received a call from the Chief Whip telling me that serious allegations had been made against me earlier that week and that these had been passed to the Police. I asked what the allegations were and he would not tell me. He only said that he and the Prime Minister had decided the whip should be suspended from me. As we spoke, the news spread across the national media.

And that is all I can tell you. Since then I have had no further information. And here we are.

So extraordinary as it may seem I am no wiser now than I was on Friday evening when the Chief Whip called me.

But let me say some things about the way our Party has handled this. First, I want to echo what the Labour MP Chris Bryant has said. "If this fortnight teaches anything it is there must be a fair proper process for those who feel they have been harassed or abused AND fair due process for those facing allegations."

I think that's spot-on. The fact is that this whole area of reporting misconduct and managing allegations of misconduct is a mess. I have every sympathy with people who have been harassed or victimised and feel they have nowhere to turn. That is a denial of justice.

It is also a denial of justice when people who have had allegations made against them, lose their job or their party whip without knowing what those allegations are. I believe this is fundamentally wrong. Wrong because it's an injustice to those who stand accused. But also wrong because it undermines our values as a country.

We believe in the rule of law – that everyone, be they so very high or so very low, should be equal before the law. We believe in the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise. We believe in natural justice.

So, I ask you: was it in line with our values as a country that the media were told of allegations made against me last week before I was? Was it in line with our values that the presumption of innocence was undermined by the whip being suspended? Was it in line with our values to cause prejudice and harm the chances of my getting a fair hearing?

Finally let me say that whatever it turns out I stand accused of, I deny any criminal wrongdoing. I have always done my best to work hard for our community – and will continue to do so. I have always put all my energy into fighting for the people of Dover and Deal – and will continue to do so. For me, the interests of the people of Dover & Deal will always come first.

15 comments

Agree 100% Charlie. I hope something is done to stop such travesties of justice in the future. Lastly, I hope this all works out well for you, and your family's sake.
- Sid Perkins

Well said.
- Mel Augustine


- Agree 100% , you have a right to know the allegatons against you, which I do not believe are true and those who deny you that right are cowards

I am not one of your constituents but I agree with you wholeheartedly and wish you well
- Maureen Pope

It sounds like you've had a dirty deal- I wish you true justice- all the est - Peregrine
- Peregrine

Hang in there Charlie. I thought(wrongly as it turns out), that every UK citizen had the right to be told of any allegations made against them. It appears that Tory MP`s are denied those rights. How Bizarre. Is there darker moves afoot politically. One begins to wonder, especially now that the government is so fragile
- John Woollen

I am not a constituent either but wanted to express my incredulity at the cavalier way you have been treated. Whatever you may or may not have done, this is no way to go about resolving the issue and the party should hang its head in shame at the way you are being treated. Chin up!
- Peter Colmer

Charlie, we do not know each other but every time I pass through Dover (which is often) I look in amazement at the changes that you have made. I think that you are being treated despicably through trial by social media and am staggered that our prime minister can behave as she has done.
- andrew suddards hartley

I agree - innocent until proved guilty.
- Del

I think you have been treated abysmally - I hope that you are exonerated of any wrong doing. Some idiots moan that you are one for a photo opportunity, the reason we keep seeing your picture in the local papers is because you are constantly campaigning for local causes. Not just at voting time like many others in politics. Superb MP that I still hope is destined for higher office within the party.
- Tony

Astonishing the way you have been treated. I feel for your wife and children. Seems as if we are in North Korea or Iran rather than the UK !
- Peter Davis

Discasful that you have been treated like this. One must question the Chief Whips compatance in this matter. Career polititions are know different to young corporate executives all to quick to through a colleague under a bus to further their careers. Just look at the pervious Chief Whip and Micael Falon. It's about time these people put the country first. Good luck Charlie.
- Mike Hawker

I do not think I have ever heard of such a farcical situation. Guilt by television, guilt by announcement guilt by suspension. Extraordinary is not strong enough a word. This is a sad indictment of the procedural value of our times. It seems that the smoke is more important than the fire even when there is no smoke and no fire. As far as I am concerned there is no stain on Charlie's character in the slightest and his considerable integrity is unscathed.
- Steve Oxenham

Charlie, we met in 2010 in the run up to the general election. I was at that time a lifelong Tory and a supporter of you. My family did some bits to assist your campaign. I liked you as a person and a politician. Due to the policies of the party I ceased my over 30 year support of the party some years ago yet I still admired you as a good constituency MP. I was truly shocked at your treatment by your party and am so enraged at what you have been subjected to. I’m afraid it vindicates my assertion that the Tory party is broken so badly. I suspect you will come out the other side of this exonerated and I wish you all the very best. John M
- John Murphy

Best of luck Charlie
- Steve Greaves

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Charlie Elphicke

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