Deputy Speaker Resigns

The Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans has resigned after being charged with a string of offences including sexual assault and rape.

The 55-year-old Tory MP is accused of two counts of indecent assault, five counts of sexual assault and one rape count in relation to seven men.

Evans, who represents the Ribble Valley constituency in Lancashire, will appear before magistrates in Preston on September 18.

The director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said: “Following an investigation by Lancashire police, the Crown Prosecution Service has received a file of evidence in the case of Mr Nigel Evans MP which concerns allegations of a sexual nature.

“After careful consideration, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to prosecute Mr Evans.”

In a statement outside Preston police station Evans said he would “robustly defend my innocence” against the complaints which he described as “incredulous”.

The indecent assaults are alleged to have been committed between January 1, 2002, and January 1, 2004; the sexual assaults between January 1, 2009, and April 1, 2013, and the rape between March 29, 2013, and April 1.

Evans, from Pendleton in Lancashire, answered bail on Tuesday having previously been arrested in May and June.

He was rearrested and interviewed by detectives throughout the day before being charged tonight.

The Swansea-born politician had arrived earlier at Preston police station in a silver Jaguar XF driven by his solicitor.

He smiled and said: “Thanks for coming” to members of the press who had gathered outside.

He dismissed the original allegations against him as “completely false”, and said they had been made by two people he had “regarded as friends”.

In June, after his second arrest, he said: “I continue to refute all allegations.”

He has stepped aside from his Speaker duties since his arrest, but has continued to work as an MP.

He was one of three deputy speakers elected in a secret ballot of MPs in 2010.

Later that year he came out as gay, saying he was “tired of living a lie”.

Mr Evans was a vice chairman of the Conservative Party from 1999 to 2001. When Iain Duncan Smith became party leader in 2001, he was promoted to the shadow cabinet as shadow Welsh secretary – a post he held for two years.

Culled from Sky News

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