Eleanor Laing replaces Nigel Evans as Deputy Commons Speaker

Right-winger takes up post effective immediately

A right-wing Conservative MP was elected as Deputy Speaker of the Commons yesterday following the resignation of Nigel Evans to fight sex offence charges.

Eleanor Laing, who will start in the post immediately, fought off bids from six other Tories for the post.

In the final round of voting, after five candidates had been eliminated, she defeated Brian Binley, the MP for Northampton South, by 257 to 240 votes.

A former special adviser in the Thatcher and Major governments, she has represented the Essex constituency of Epping Forest for 16 years.

Mrs Laing is a Eurosceptic and an opponent of gay marriage, as well as hostile to the formation of the Coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

She was caught up in the Commons expenses row in 2009 when it emerged she did not pay capital gains tax on the £1m profit on a second home bought with the help of taxpayers’ money.

The first candidate to be eliminated was Nadine Dorries. She was followed by David Amess, Simon Burns, Gary Streeter and Henry Bellingham.

Mr Evans, 55, is accused of two counts of indecent assault, five of sexual assault and one of rape. He denies all charges.

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