Nigel Evans found not guilty in Preston rape and sex assault trial

MP and former deputy speaker cleared on all nine charges of rape and sexual assault

The former deputy speaker of the House of Commons has been cleared of rape and sexual assault against seven men.

The jury at Preston Crown Court found Nigel Evans, 56, not guilty on all nine charges at the end of a five week trial in which it had been claimed the powerful MP abused his position to carry out drunken attacks dating back to 2003.

Three of the incidents were alleged to have occurred in bars and corridors in Parliament. He is the latest public figure to be found not guilty following a long investigation into historic sexual abuse allegations by police in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Mr Evans claimed that he had had consensual sex with a 22-year-old student at his constituency home in 2013 and that the younger man later regretted sleeping with him and had gone to the police.

The man’s allegations prompted Lancashire Police to speak to dozens of witnesses eventually bringing charges in relation to seven men who were all in their 20s at the time the alleged incidents which dated back a decade earlier.

Profile: MP who rose to the top – despite warnings over friendships with young colleagues

However, in evidence two of the men said they did not consider themselves to be the victims of a criminal indecent assault. The prosecution alleged the former front bench spokesman had put his hand down one of the men’s trousers whilst drinking at a Soho bar. A second similar incident was alleged to have occurred in a late night bar during the Tory party conference in Blackpool.

In evidence the senior Tory claimed to have been the victim of a conspiracy organised by another of the alleged victims, a young Westminster worker, who he had considered to be a friend but who was known to five of the complainants.

The man had claimed he was intimately touched by Mr Evans whilst also staying over at his cottage in Pendleton, Lancashire in 2009 resulting in a meeting with the then chief whip Patrick McLoughlin, now Transport Secretary, and a number of other senior party figures.

At the meeting it was decided Mr Evans, who came out as gay in 2010, should not stand down but apologise. He was told to cut down on his drinking and stop socialising with younger people in and around Westminster. 

The matter was eventually brought to the attention of Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, a qualified GP who had previously worked with victims of sexual and domestic violence.

She told the court she was frustrated when Speaker John Bercow said he had been advised he could not discuss the matter after taking legal advice.

Mr Bercow said he urged the victims to go the police.

The defence said that other charges were either the result of “drunken overfamiliarity”, the misreading of signals or simply did not happen. Mr Evans resigned his position as one of three deputy speakers following his arrest last year. He has not returned to the Conservatives in the Commons and is representing his constituents as an independent.

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices