Former House of Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans in court over sex assault allegations

Alleged offences date from 2002 to this year

The former deputy speaker of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans, will appear in court today facing charges of rape and indecent assault.

The charges against the MP for Ribble Valley, Lancashire, relate to seven alleged victims and date from 2002 to April this year.

Evans, who denies all the charges, resigned as deputy speaker - a post he held since 2010 - when he was charged last month.

The next day, in a statement to the House, he said facing the allegations was as hard as dealing with the deaths of his mother and brother in the past few years.

He appeared at Preston Magistrates' Court last month and the case was committed to Preston Crown Court for a first hearing today.

Evans, of Pendleton, Lancashire, has protested his innocence and pledged to "see this through to the end".

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