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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back