Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans resigns after rape charge
SWANSEA-BORN Conservative MP Nigel Evans has resigned as Commons Deputy Speaker, after being charged with offences including sexual assault, indecent assault and rape.
The Crown Prosecution Service has said Mr Evans is accused of eight offences in total dating between 2002 and 2013. There are seven alleged victims.
The 55-year-old MP for Ribble Valley has denied any wrongdoing and pledged to continue to represent his constituents from the backbenches.
In a statement to reporters after being charged, he said: "May I reassure everyone at this time that I will robustly defend my innocence.
"I have today answered bail following complaints I have said were incredulous.
"Whilst I am saddened that this case has not been closed today, I am certain of two things: firstly that I am innocent, and secondly that my innocence will be demonstrated.
"Having informed my fellow deputy Speakers Lindsay Hoyle and Dawn Primarolo, my association chairman and staff, I can confirm I will now resign as deputy speaker.
"However, I will continue to work hard for the people of Ribble Valley from the backbenches where I first started my political career in 1992."
"I appreciate that this case will create a great deal of media interest, but after today I will not be making any further comment until after the case concludes."
The director of public prosecutions for England and Wales said the decision to charge Mr Evans had been taken after careful consideration.
Keir Starmer said it was in the public interest to prosecute.
"Lancashire Constabulary has therefore been authorised to charge two counts of indecent assault, five counts of sexual assault and one count of rape relating to a total of seven alleged victims."
Mr Evans is expected to appear before Preston Magistrates' Court on September 18.
The two indecent assaults are alleged to have been committed between January 1 2002 and January 1 2004. The five sexual assaults allegedly happened between January 1 2009 and April 1 2013, and the alleged rape between March 29 and April 1 2013.
Mr Evans, from Pendleton in Lancashire, answered bail on Tuesday having previously been arrested in May and June.
He was re-arrested and interviewed by detectives throughout the day before being charged in the evening.
In May, Mr Evans, whose family used to run a newsagents in Townhill, dismissed the original allegations against him as "completely false".
He was elected as one of three Commons deputy Speakers in 2010.