BREAKING: Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans denies allegations

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has spoken out about his arrest on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.

Nigel Evans MP
Nigel Evans MP

In a short statement outside his Pendleton home, Mr Evans said: “The complaints are completely false and I cannot understand why they have been made.”

Mr Evans, who is also a deputy speaker of the House of Commons, was arrested at his home near Clitheroe, on Saturday morning.

Following hours of questioning at a police station in the county, the 55-year-old politician was bailed until June 19th. No charges have been made.

The 55-year-old politician, who is openly gay, is accused of raping a man and sexually assaulting a second man between July 2009 and March this year.

Nobody in Mr Evans’ office was available to comment on the allegations, and neither was anyone available to comment from the Ribble Valley Conservative Association.

On telephoning the Conservative Party headquarters, the Evening Post was told that there was nobody available to give any details.

It has been reported that Prime Minister David Cameron and Speaker John Bercow have been informed of the arrest.

Following his arrest political colleagues and neighbours spoke of their shock.

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, a fellow deputy speaker of the Commons, said: “I am shocked to hear the allegations.”

One neighbour of Mr Evans said: “It’s shocking. I’ve known him for 12 years, ever since I moved here. He’s always been such a nice neighbour.

“There have been lots of police cars coming and going, which is not something we ever see here. The thought of him being arrested for rape is truly shocking.”

Mr Evans has been the MP for Ribble Valley since 1992. His area includes Lostock Hall, Bamber Bridge, Tardy Gate, Farington and Walton-le-Dale .

Since 2010 he has been First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means, a deputy speaker.

Earlier on Saturday, a Lancashire police spokesperson said: “A 55 year old man from Pendleton in Lancashire has been arrested by Lancashire Constabulary on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.

“The man will be interviewed at a police station in Lancashire during the course of the day.

“The offences are alleged to have been committed in Pendleton between July 2009 and March 2013.”

The Lancashire police spokesman added: “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.

“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.”