Nigel Evans quits as House of Commons deputy speaker amid rape and sex charges

The alleged offences span a period of a decade and are said to have taken place in London and Lancashire

Nigel Evans, a House of Commons Deputy Speaker, is to be charged with a string of sexual offences including rape, the Crown Prosecution Service announced. The 55-year-old Tory MP for Ribble Valley, Lancs, is accused of two counts of indecent assault, five counts of sexual assault and one rape count. He is now set to stand down as Deputy Speaker to defend himself.

The alleged offences span a period of a decade and are said to have taken place in London and Lancashire.

He will appear before magistrates in Preston on 18 September.

All allegations are strongly denied by Mr Evans. Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Following an investigation by Lancashire police, the Crown Prosecution Service has received a file of evidence in the case of Mr Nigel Evans MP which concerns allegations of a sexual nature.

"After careful consideration, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to prosecute Mr Evans."

The charges were announced after the MP was questioned yesterday on suspicion of indecent assault and sexual touching against two men in their 20s. Lancashire Police said these new offences were alleged to have been committed in London between 2002 and 2009.

Mr Evans was initially arrested at his home in Lancashire in May by detectives investigating claims he raped one man and sexually assaulted another between 2009 and March this year.

The following month he was re-arrested and informed of three further allegations of indecent assaults involving men.

These allegations related to incidents said to have taken place in Blackpool and London between 2003 and 2011.After his initial arrest, Mr Evans said the complaints were "completely false" and said they had been made by people he regarded as friends. He insisted he would clear his name. Following his second arrest in June, he stressed he continued to refute all the allegations.

Mr Evans was elected in 1992 and served as shadow Welsh Secretary under Iain Duncan Smith.

He was elected as one of the three Deputy Speakers later in a secret ballot of MPs in 2010. Later that year he came out as gay, explaining he was "tired of living a lie". He also said he had been threatened with exposure by political opponents.

Yesterday Mr Evans was questioned about the fresh allegations by detectives at Preston police station. He arrived in a Jaguar XF driven by his solicitor and said to waiting journalists: "Thanks for coming".