Deputy House of Commons Speaker Nigel Evans was arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault earlier on Saturday after being questioned by police. He has since been released on bail. The alleged offenses he was arrested for took place between July 2009 and March 2013 in Pendleton, Lancashire.
Evans is a member of the Conservative Party, and Prime Minister David Cameron has been made aware of the arrest. Evans is out of jail until 19 June.
Lancashire Police stated that “A 55-year-old man from Pendleton in Lancashire has today, Saturday, 4th May 2013, been arrested by Lancashire Constabulary on suspicion of rape and sexual assault. The offences are alleged to have been committed in Pendleton between July 2009 and March 2013.”
They went on to say “We take all allegations of a sexual nature extremely seriously and understand how difficult it can be for victims to have the confidence to come forward. As a constabulary, we are committed to investigating sexual offences sensitively but robustly recognising the impact that these types of crimes have on victims.”
And finished by saying “We would encourage anyone who has experienced sexual abuse, or who has information about it, to have the confidence to report it to us knowing that we will take it seriously, deal with it sensitively and investigate it thoroughly.”
Evans has been the Member of Parliament for Ribble Valley since 1992, and was elected to be one of the three Commons deputy speakers three years ago.
Evans has been described as gregarious, energetic and well-liked. He is also openly gay. Michael Ronson, the chairman of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association, stated that people in the constituency were gobsmacked and that “He is a very popular MP and a very good constituency MP. He’s given assistance to a lot of his constituents over many years.”
Tory MP Brian Binley, a friend of Evans, stated “I do not believe that Nigel is capable of inflicting his will in this way on anybody.”