Former deputy speaker pleads not guilty to all sex offence charges

The Conservative MP resigned as Commons deputy speaker after he was charged in September

Nigel Evans, the former deputy speaker of the House of Commons, has pleaded “not guilty” in court to allegations of sexual offences against seven men.

Evans, the MP for Ribble Valley in Lancashire, entered formal not guilty pleas to all charges during a pre-trial hearing at Preston Crown Court.

The 56-year-old stood in the dock, hands clasped at his front, to repeat “not guilty” as each charge was put to him.

An extra count of sexual assault was added to the indictment, making nine charges in all.

He denies two counts of indecent assault, six of sexual assault and one of rape. The charges date from 2002 to 1 April, last year.

Evans resigned as Commons deputy speaker after he was charged on September 10.

A provisional date of March 10 has been set for his trial, which is scheduled to last up to four weeks.

The indecent assaults are alleged to have been committed between 1 January 2002 and 1 January 2004; the sexual assaults - said to be touching without consent - between 1 January 2009 and 1 April  last year; and the rape between 29 March and 1 April last year.

The Swansea-born MP, who lives in Pendleton, Lancashire, was one of three deputy speakers elected in a secret ballot of MPs in 2010. Later that year he came out as gay.

Evans was a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party from 1999 to 2001.

As deputy speaker, he sat as an independent MP but he will not take the Conservative whip and will sit as an independent MP for his constituency.

He is on bail on condition that he does not contact any of his alleged victims.

PA