MP Charlie Elphicke hits out over treatment by Tory Party
An MP who had the Tory whip suspended and was reported to the police is claiming the process being followed by the party is "fundamentally wrong" because he still does not know what he is accused of.
Charlie Elphicke was using a speech to his local Conservative association to claim he faces a "denial of justice" in an outspoken attack on the way his case was handled.
Mr Elphicke - who denies any criminal wrongdoing - claims the press were tipped off about the action being taken against him before he was told and the whole area of reporting allegations of misconduct is a "mess".
In one of his first acts as Chief Whip, Julian Smith suspended Mr Elphicke last week and the Tory Party passed the allegations on to the police.
In a statement to the Dover and Deal Conservative Association on Thursday evening, Mr Elphicke hit back at his treatment by Mr Smith and Prime Minister Theresa May.
"I received a call from a journalist just after 9pm on Friday evening saying he had heard I was having the whip withdrawn in time for the 10 O'Clock news and asked me what was going on," he told local activists.
"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."
In his statement, he adds: "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."