Natalie Elphicke: The Tory defector who mocked Starmer as ‘Sir Softie’

Natalie Elphicke’s defection to Labour came as a shock to many in Westminster, given some of her previous comments and attacks on the party’s policies on immigration.

The MP for Dover hit out at “unelected” Rishi Sunak’s “tired and chaotic Government” and failure to deliver on his promise to stop migrants arriving in the UK via the Channel as she crossed the floor on Wednesday.

But only a year ago, Ms Elphicke used a newspaper column to claim “not only have Labour got no plan of their own to tackle illegal immigration, they simply do not want to” and “seems intent” on creating legal loopholes for illegal migrants.

She said Sir Keir, whom she mocked as “Sir Softie”, “has pledged to rip up our world-leading partnership to remove illegal migrants to Rwanda”.

The Dover MP previously courted controversy when she engaged in a public spat with Marcus Rashford, suggesting the footballer should have spent more time “perfecting his game” than “playing politics” after he missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final.

Rashford ran a high-profile campaign to persuade the Government to provide free meals to vulnerable youngsters throughout the school holidays during the coronavirus pandemic.

Natalie Elphicke apologised after suggesting Marcus Rashford should have spent ‘less time playing politics’ (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Ms Elphicke entered Parliament as Dover’s Conservative MP in 2019, an opportunity that emerged from scandal.

(PA Graphics)

She had defended her husband for two-and-a-half years after the allegations emerged and accompanied him hand-in-hand into Southwark Crown Court throughout the trial.

But minutes after the jury returned guilty verdicts, she announced to the world on social media that their 25-year marriage was over.

The court heard that

Ms Elphicke was among a group of Tory MPs who were admonished by the most senior judge in England and Wales for seeking “to influence a judge”.

They had written to senior judges in a bid to block the release of character references relating to Elphicke.

The five Conservatives were later found to have breached the MPs’ code of conduct over the “egregious” attempt to influence the legal proceedings

Ms Elphicke also reportedly said after the conviction that her husband had been punished for being “attractive and attracted to women”.

Natalie Elphicke
New Labour MP Natalie Elphicke with party leader Sir Keir Starmer (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She had long been involved in Tory politics, working with think tanks on housing and finance reports and leading the Conservative Policy Forum.

A housing and finance lawyer for nearly two decades, she also co-chaired a government report, the Elphicke-House Report.

Her services to housing were recognised with an OBE in 2015.

Ms Elphicke started life in a council house and moved to East Kent as a teenager.

She went to a Kent grammar school before studying at the University of Kent.

Ms Elphicke is standing down at the general election but could take on an unpaid role working on housing policy with Labour.

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