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British politician Elphicke charged with sexual assault

FILE PHOTO: British Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke speaks in the Parliament during a debate on alternatives to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit Deal, in London, Britain April 3, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - A lawmaker in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has been charged with three counts of sexual assault against two women, the Crown Prosecution Service said on Monday.

Charlie Elphicke, a lawmaker for Dover in southern England, is alleged to have committed the first offence in 2007 against one individual and two further offences against a second person in 2016.

The Conservative Party said it had suspended Elphicke, who denies any wrongdoing.

Elphicke had previously been suspended in November 2017 after allegations made against him were referred to the police but was reinstated December before a confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May.

The former tax lawyer has been a member of parliament since 2010 and was a government whip - lawmakers who are responsible for ensuring party discipline - under the former prime minister David Cameron between 2015-16.

“He will defend himself vigorously and is confident that he will clear his name,” said his lawyer Ellen Peart.

“Meanwhile, Charlie would like to thank everyone for their continued support of him and his family. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

Elphicke is due to appear at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ court on Sept. 6.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Michael Holden