MPs from across the political spectrum have expressed shock after the House of Commons deputy speaker and Conservative MP Nigel Evans was arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.
Detectives visited his home in Pendleton, Lancashire, on Saturday morning following allegations made by two men who were in their 20s at the time of the alleged attacks, which are said to have taken place at the property in July 2009 and March 2013.
The house and his car were searched by officers while Evans was held in custody at Preston police station. He was released on police bail until 19 June.
The prime minister, David Cameron, is understood to have been informed about the arrest of the 55-year-old, MP for Ribble Valley since 1992, one of the few Tory strongholds in the north. John Bercow, the Commons speaker, last night told the Daily Mirror: "It's been a total shock. Nigel is a popular and well-liked character. No one can quite believe what's happened."
Brian Binley, Tory MP for Northampton South and a friend of Evans, said: "I was just deeply disturbed and shocked.
"I've known him ever since I've been in parliament and I came in in 2005. I consider him to be a very good friend. I know him to be caring, compassionate and in no way would he inflict himself violently on any other person. I just hope and pray that this thing is cleared up sooner rather than later."
Evans is openly gay, having come out as homosexual in 2010, the year he was elected to his current post. In the 2010 general election Evans retained his seat with a majority of 14,769 over Labour, with Ukip making a then strong showing in fourth place with 3,496, or 6.7% of the vote.
If the police take further action the Tory party will face the prospect of a potentially difficult byelection. With Ukip support surging, Nigel Farage's party is bound to see the vacancy as an opportunity to establish a foothold in the House of Commons for the first time.
Lancashire police said: "A 55-year-old man from Pendleton in Lancashire has today, Saturday, 4 May 2013, 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."
Evans, who earns £102,000 a year as an MP and deputy speaker, was first elected as a councillor, while working in his family's newsagent business, to West Glamorgan county council in 1985. Five years later he became leader of the Conservative group.
Evans is known as a rightwinger who voted against the minimum wage and is a strong Eurosceptic. Originally from Swansea, he was John Major's spokesman on Welsh affairs. He held various positions as a parliamentary private secretary in Major's government including to Tony Baldry in the ministry of agriculture, food and fisheries. In 1999 he was appointed as vice-chairman of the Conservative party, a post he held until 2001.
At the time of his coming out as gay he said he was tired of living a lie and dealing with threats of blackmail from political enemies. He came out at the launch of a parliamentary group set up to help MPs and staff at the Palace of Westminster to be open about their sexuality.
"I could not afford it to be used as leverage against me. I couldn't take the risk. I don't want any other MP to face that kind of nastiness again. I am sure there are other gay MPs who would like to be open about their sexuality but are fearful of the consequences. I hope this new group will help them to do so," he said.
He said of a former Labour MP: "The MP was saying to anyone who would listen, 'Why is it that Nigel Evans leads a life whereby he is gay to some people and not others?' "
In an interview shortly after announcing he was gay he said he regretted supporting section 28, the law introduced by Margaret Thatcher's government banning the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities in schools.
He said: "I was confused about how to protect youngsters at school. The law did the opposite of what was intended. We shouldn't have been telling young people that being gay was wrong."
Asked in a newspaper interview why it had taken him so long to publicly disclose his sexuality, he said: "Growing up in the 60s, it just wasn't done.
"There were just as many gay politicians as there are now but none of them was out. I realised I was gay when I was about 12 or 13, though at the time I wished I wasn't. I thought I might just be going through a phase and that it would fade away. I had a girlfriend.
"I suppressed it. In those days you kept it quiet. It was more or less impossible to enter politics – in either party – as an openly gay person. When Margaret Thatcher was asked about homosexuals in the party, she said: 'Oh, we don't talk about those sort of things.' It was all swept under the carpet.
"But it has all changed. First we had people coming out as gay MPs, and now openly gay people are being elected to parliament. It is so much better."
so he's a right-winger?
He is a Tory — so yes, he is a right-winger.
What a cunt. I wonder if these Tory cretins will help bring down the monarchy.
Too bad he didn't come out as a rapist at the same time he came out as gay.
So dishonest: he wasn't threatened with blackmail, he was deeply in the closet while scoring cock on the side. He voted for Section 28 and was anti-gay in public, until he was forced out of the closet; then he decided he'd been 'confused' in his anti-gay voting.
Just another rightwing, closeted 'phobe, for as long as he could manage it. Then apparently a nice gay guy after, we're meant to believe. Only, apparently unable to sustain an open, equal relationship. Maybe he's just really fucked up where 'boundaries' are concerned, stuck in a pre-adult stage of development but with really frantic sexual impulses, and that's behind this story,
I'm sure the accusers are making it up. Publicity hungry whores.
Another Dennis Laws type, staying in the closet and keeping his life secret for as long as he could get away with it.
Why though are there pages of photos in the - yes - Daily Mail (on Sunday) showing police raiding his house, what do they expect to find at this stage ? The papers must have been tipped off so the photographers are there ...
its not like the case of the murdered 5 year old girl in Wales, there isnt going to be any "evidence" at his house, unless they want the porn on his computers ... or gay magazines ?
[quote]If the police take further action the Tory party will face the prospect of a potentially difficult byelection. With Ukip support surging, Nigel Farage's party is bound to see the vacancy as an opportunity to establish a foothold in the House of Commons for the first time.
I find this quite heartening. Now, if only the people here in the United States would wake up in similar fashion and start to dismantle the entrenched corrupt political duopoly that has been all but dictating the outcomes of our elections.
r9, sometimes rapists like to record their hijinks (remember the football players in Steubenville?)
r10, of course Ukip is anti-welfare state and pro-free market, so it may just be the corporate powers that be have decided they'll work as well in their favor as the old Tory and New Labour brands, while letting the people think they're getting something new and fresh.
The Tories who are supporting Nigel Evans in public are the same ones who want to deny him the same rights that they and their female wives have. Fucking hypocrites.
I wonder if one or both of those men were getting payoffs from him and then turned him in when he stopped paying.
Does a hetero Tory even exist?
A terrible situation, obviously a shakedown by two exes for money that got out of control. I don't believe he raped anyone, what obvious BS.
Our Tory PM is bringing us gay marriage, so don't bash the Torries. They ain't all bad.
The Tories are only one tiny notch above the sacks of shit that the US Republicans are.
[quote]In an interview shortly after announcing he was gay he said he regretted supporting section 28, the law introduced by Margaret Thatcher's government banning the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities in schools.
Karma's a bitch.
He looks like a big fag in his pictures. Ain't called house of COMMONS for nothing. Off with his cock!
This scandal can't begin to compare with the Cardinal O'Brien scandal.
O'B was the highest ranking Catholic official in the United Kingdom and he was brought down by priests that he buggered while preaching against gay rights. The Vatican wouldn't allow him to go to Rome to vote in the conclave and now they've told him he can't retire where he had planned. The Vatican has ordered him to leave the U.K. What country will accept this refugee/closet case?
Meanwhile, the Nigel Evans scandal will turn out to be nothing more than a shakedown by two guys who Evans used to date.
Ewwww!! Kill it!!!!
Lots of suggestions in the papers today that he's a raging alcoholic.
Seems like he was warned about aggressive behaviour towards younger men a few years back.
I wouldn't be surprised if he's a sex pest who thinks he's above the law.
[quote]The Tories who are supporting Nigel Evans in public are the same ones who want to deny him the same rights that they and their female wives have.
Female wives? Are there any other kind?
So the massage parlour Nige claimed gave him a head massage which ended up with the bruise on his forehead has denied seeing him that day, and said a massage wouldn't have left that mark.
Would a gimp mask leave a forehead bruise?
And a Tory MP persuaded the rape victim to report it to the police.
Couldn't happen to a more loathesome individual.
r24, same sex marriage (or at least civil unions) have been legal in the UK for some time.
Now that a third man has come forward, his goose is cooked. What an unpleasant prick he must be to deal with ..... talk your way out of that mister !
Interesting, R23. Alcohol and entitlement certainly could yield a few plausible scenarios leading to sexual assault.
Two full grown men in their 20's claiming they were raped? Something's fishy. Unless they are skinny twinks.
[quote]The former intern said he had just finished a stint in the House of Commons and was in the bar with his parents – he was showing them around parliament and had stopped off for a drink – when the alleged incident occurred. Evans, it is claimed, stood with his back to the former intern and groped his bottom for around a minute.
[quote]Allies of Evans added that it was "beyond credibility" to suggest that the deputy speaker would fondle an intern in a bar in the presence of his parents.
I think it's completely credible...drunk and copping a feel.