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PLATELL'S PEOPLE: ­Charlie Elphicke's a sex pest – but two years' jail for the MP is a step too far

When the former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke was sentenced to two years in prison for sexual assault, the last person you would have expected to defend him would be his estranged wife Natalie.

Yes the same woman who, 33 minutes after he was convicted, announced she was divorcing the father of their two children after 25 years of marriage, as, she says, the charges against him were intolerable.

His first victim, in her early 30s, said he invited her into their Belgravia home for a drink, kissed her, groped her breast then chased her around the kitchen table, chanting: ‘I’m a naughty Tory.’

Former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke was sentenced to two years in prison for sexual assault

Former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke was sentenced to two years in prison for sexual assault








The last person you would have expected to defend him would be his estranged wife Natalie, pictured with Elphicke during the trial

The last person you would have expected to defend him would be his estranged wife Natalie, pictured with Elphicke during the trial

The second victim, in her early 20s, said he tried to kiss her, put his hands down her top, then tried to block her exit, saying: ‘I’m so naughty sometimes, aren’t I?’

What he did was appalling. So why would Natalie defend him now he’s got his comeuppance — with his career in ruins, penniless, homeless and facing two years in prison?

She found the court ordeal ‘horrible, humiliating and unpleasant’ but she still believes her husband has suffered ‘a terrible miscarriage of justice’. She is standing by him not in any way to excuse his ghastly behaviour, but simply because she believes — as I, and I suspect many others, do — that two years incarceration is too hefty a price to pay for what he did.

Is there not a danger that by inflicting such a heavy punishment on Elphicke, we are in danger of conflating what he did with more serious sexual assaults such as rape?

I cannot help wondering whether, had Elphicke not been a high-profile Tory MP, he would have been treated so harshly. My worry is that this disproportionate punishment feeds into the notion that all women are victims who live in constant fear of sexual assault, and all men villains.

We are not, they are not.

And a woman such as Natalie Elphicke who stands up against such blatant injustice should be applauded, not pilloried.

 

Why CAN’T we back telly’s Sue?

Gary Lineker attacks those of us who adore 64-year-old Sue Barker and are dismayed at her sacking from A Question Of Sport, widely rumoured to be replaced by 35-year-old Alex Scott.

Alex Scott, pictured, is rumoured to be replacing Sue Barker as host of A Question of Sport

Alex Scott, pictured, is rumoured to be replacing Sue Barker as host of A Question of Sport

Disgracefully, Gaz tweets: ‘Oh . . . and if you have a problem with Alex getting the job, you might just be part of the problem’ — arguably implying Sue fans like me are racist.

What a ninny. Alex seems lovely, a former top footballer with a few years’ broadcasting and a Strictly stint under her belt.

What we object to is the BBC’s blatant ageism. I wonder how the almost 60‑year-old Lineker would feel if, after decades at the top of his TV game, he was replaced by Jermaine Jenas, 37, former ace footballer?

Race has nothing to do with it.

 

Photo pain for Harry

Despite Palace protocol dictating that spouses are not included in pictures celebrating royal birthdays, it must have hurt Prince Harry deeply to see that the images released by his grandmother, father and brother to celebrate his 36th birthday all excluded his wife Megs.

To compound things, Kate was in the 2017 picture sent by the Cambridges.

As many of us know from bitter experience, families fall out, yet it leaves us all the sadder for it.

Surely even blue blood is thicker than water.

 

 Westminster Wars

In a moment beyond satire, the anti-gambling crusader Tom Watson has become a paid adviser to the online betting giant Flutter Entertainment, owner of Paddy Power.

Yes, that’s the same organisation the once-tubby former Labour deputy leader described as using predatory tactics to lure vulnerable people into a lifetime of addiction. 

In a moment beyond satire, the anti-gambling crusader Tom Watson, pictured, has become a paid adviser to the online betting giant Flutter Entertainment, owner of Paddy Power

In a moment beyond satire, the anti-gambling crusader Tom Watson, pictured, has become a paid adviser to the online betting giant Flutter Entertainment, owner of Paddy Power

If Watson really cared about this issue, he could have taken an unpaid role. How long before his true expertise is put to good use and the company starts taking bets on the next innocent elderly gentleman he can falsely accuse of being a paedophile?

What a show from the beleaguered head of NHS Test and Trace, Dido Harding. Despite the unmitigated chaos she has presided over, she turns up defiantly to defend her record, giving us an unrepentant Joan of Arc act. 

The lack of make-up, sacrificial bob, unflattering dress and spotty backpack all said: ‘Burn me if you must, but I’m doing the Lord’s work!’ Let me tell you, there is nothing remotely sai-ntly about Dido Harding’s performance.

A rather empty threat from Priti Patel, saying now the ‘rule of six’ is in play, she would readily dob her own friends in to the police if they violated the law. An easy promise for a woman who surely doesn’t even have six friends.

 

In Her Diary of an MP’s Wife, Lady Sasha Swire recalls meeting the Queen, who she says asks the same banal questions of everyone, then moves on. Not true.

I have been in a receiving line when Her Majesty spent a good deal of time talking to a woman who had lost her legs in the 7/7 bombings.

I was also present when Her Maj and my mum chatted over the freshly picked roses from our garden.

According to Lady Swire, when she met the Queen she ‘fixes her beady eyes on me then swans past not saying a word’.

Firstly, Elizabeth has the most sparkling blue eyes. Secondly, our wise Queen knows a true Lady when she sees one.

As for the story that on a hike Cameron insisted Lady Swire walk behind him as ‘the scent you are wearing… makes me want to grab you and push you in the bushes and give you one’, it is simply delusional.

Think you’re that special, honey?

 

Does Lauren Laverne her money?

Amid the madness of the BBC’s pay league, nothing was more shocking than mediocre Desert Island Discs presenter Lauren Laverne being the Beeb’s fourth highest-paid female star, on about £400,000. 

Amid the madness of the BBC's pay league, nothing was more shocking than mediocre Desert Island Discs presenter Lauren Laverne, pictured, being the Beeb's fourth highest-paid female star, on about £400,000

Amid the madness of the BBC’s pay league, nothing was more shocking than mediocre Desert Island Discs presenter Lauren Laverne, pictured, being the Beeb’s fourth highest-paid female star, on about £400,000

Yet Auntie’s Political Editor, clever, courageous Laura Kuenssberg, earns about £290,000 working day and night on the hardest beat there is.

New director-general Tim Davie needs to sort this craziness once and for all.

 

Former model Amy Dorris says Donald Trump repulsively ‘shoved his tongue’ down her throat in the 1990s, groping the then 24-year-old like an octopus. 

This is offensive to octopuses as they are highly intelligent creatures with fine problem-solving skills. And while it’s true they have a toothed tongue able to pry open their prey, they — unlike the President — die shortly after mating.

 

Boris’s one-time mistress, Evening Standard columnist Petronella Wyatt, turns on him in the London paper, furious at his handling of the pandemic, saying he ‘appears to have been replaced by some dour, repressive doppelganger’.

Ouch! I bet Boris is praying Petsy hasn’t kept a diary.

 

Huffy human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has resigned ‘in dismay’ as the UK’s special envoy on Press freedom after the Government allegedly broke international law over Brexit.

I’m sure No 10 will be sad to see her go — but now George’s missus can focus on her life’s other passion: buying endless sensational designer frocks.

 

The Great British Bake Off returns with Prue Leith boasting that the Covid ‘bubble’ created for the show at Down Hall Hotel in Essex was ‘the safest place in the whole of England’ during the pandemic.

During the six-week shoot, she adds, ‘we all had to be tested to death’. An unfortunate turn of phrase, dear.

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