Wednesday 18 October 2017

Defiant MP to fight sex charges

Nigel Evans: has denied any wrongdoing over a series of alleged sex offences
Nigel Evans: has denied any wrongdoing over a series of alleged sex offences

Margaret Davis and John Fahey London

HIGH-RANKING British MP Nigel Evans has defiantly protested his innocence to parliament and pledged to "see this through to the end" after he was charged with a series of sex offences against seven men.

The 55-year-old made a personal statement in the House of Commons yesterday, claiming that facing the allegations was as hard as dealing with the deaths of his mother and brother in the past few years.

He resigned as deputy speaker of the House of Commons after the charges of two counts of indecent assault, five of sexual assault and one of rape were confirmed by prosecutors on Tuesday, and will stand as an independent MP for his Ribble Valley constituency in Lancashire.

Mr Evans told MPs: "Winston Churchill said 'when you are going through hell, keep going'. Sage advice.

"And so I will see this through to the end with the support of the people that mean so much to me."

He said his family and friends have continued to support him through the allegations, and that he remains hopeful.

"I now have the opportunity to robustly defend my innocence and seek acquittal," he said.

"Since these allegations, I have not been able to fully fulfil my duties in the chair, which left me in a land of limbo."

The Conservative politician has denied any wrongdoing since his first arrest in May – he was re-arrested in June and again on Tuesday on suspicion of further allegations.

Mr Evans will appear before magistrates in Preston next Wednesday.

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