Tory chief told alleged victim it was a ‘big ask’ to make Nigel Evans quit

 

A former Tory Chief Whip told the victim of an alleged sexual assault by Nigel Evans MP that it would be “a really big ask” to make the MP stand down over the claim,

The Transport minister, Patrick McLoughlin, told Preston Crown Court that he believed an alleged sexual assault against a younger man had been a “misunderstanding” and little more than a “drunken pass”.

The incident, which is claimed to have happened at Mr Evans’ constituency home in 2009 before he was elected to the position of Commons Deputy Speaker, was discussed by senior party figures.

Mr McLoughlin said a meeting took place in his Commons office on 6 July 2009. It was attended by the complainant, John Randall MP, the Assistant Chief Whip and Iain Corby, managing director of the Policy Research Unit.

But Mr McLoughlin told the jury that he considered asking his colleague to give up his Parliamentary career as a “huge demand given the nature of the complaint”.

He said: “He [the complainant] had been drinking, Nigel had been drinking and said an incident had taken place. I don’t remember him going into exact details of what the incident was, although he may have done. I asked him what he wanted and he said that he wanted Nigel to not stand at the next general election.

“I remember saying that was a really big ask considering what he had said to me but we need to see where things went. He did seem to change his mind at some stage, he wanted Nigel to apologise and he would regard that as sufficient.”

Mr McLoughlin said his fellow Tory had been apologetic and said things had “got out of hand” when he later spoke to him. He said he warned Mr Evans about his drinking and suggested he should come out about his homosexuality.

“I recall saying to Nigel, I think you should make a public statement about being gay, but that was a matter for Nigel to take himself,” he said. The former chief whip, who  was responsible for party  discipline, also suggested that the defendant – one of seven younger men Mr Evans  is alleged to have assaulted – should go to the police if  he wished.

Mr Evans, 56, who was watched from the gallery by his friend, former Coronation Street actress Vicky Entwistle, denies all charges against him. The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us