Labour hits back at ex-justice secretary who made Elphicke lobbying claims

Labour has appeared to call for an investigation into Sir Robert Buckland after the former justice secretary claimed Natalie Elphicke attempted to intervene in the sexual assault proceedings against her ex-husband, Charlie. 

Elphicke, who defected to the Labour Party from the Conservatives last week, has dismissed the allegations as “nonsense”. 

According to a report in The Sunday Times over the weekend, Buckland alleged that Elphicke used a meeting in 2020 to interfere in a hearing about her husband’s case.

It was alleged that Elphicke asked the Conservative MP to speak to the judge who was going to preside over Charlie Elphicke’s trial.

Buckland told The Sunday Times: “She was told in no uncertain terms [in 2020] that it would have been completely inappropriate to speak to the judge about the trial at all.”

Elphicke has previously been suspended from parliament for having tried to influence the senior judge overseeing the case, Lady Justice Whipple, by signing a letter on parliament-branded notepaper urging her not to release her husband’s character references.

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Elphicke apologised on Thursday after an interview re-emerged last week, in which she said her ex-husband was “an easy target” for false allegations because he was “attractive”.

Responding to the latest allegations, however, a spokesman for the new Labour MP said: “This is nonsense. It’s certainly true that Mr Elphicke continued to be supported after his imprisonment 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 was nothing to do with Natalie.”

Speaking on Monday morning, shadow minister and former privileges committee chair Sir Chris Bryant noted that during his time on the committee they investigated Elphicke and her conduct.

He told Sky News: “Now, when we were doing that investigation, I would have thought that if what Robert Buckland has said today, namely that he says that she lobbied him, if that is true, he should have told our committee.

“So if anybody should be being investigated by the parliamentary commissioner for standards — and he’s perfectly independent, it’s up to him to decide — frankly, it should be Robert Buckland”.

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Meanwhile, a Conservative frontbencher has repeated the line that Labour should launch an investigation over the claims relating to Elphicke.

Maria Caulfield, a health minister, told Times Radio that whether there is a probe is ultimately up to Labour after Elphicke’s defection to the party last week but she believed “there probably should be”. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our free daily newsletter here.