MP Nigel vows to clear his name and thanks his supporters

MP for Ribble Valley Nigel Evans
MP for Ribble Valley Nigel Evans

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has spoken of the “wonderful support” he has received after being arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.

Mr Evans has vowed to clear his name and is standing down from duties as deputy speaker of the House of Commons

He took to Twitter to thank his supporters and wrote: “Wonderful support - in huge numbers... really boosted me - felt so much better... thank you.”

Lancashire Police arrested and bailed 55-year-old Mr Evans on Saturday on suspicion of rape and sexual assault on two men in their 20s.

The alleged offences are said to have have happneed in his constituency between July 2009 and March this year.

After he was bailed, Mr Evans spoke outside his Pendleton home to state the allegations were “completely false”.

Mr Evans has been bailed until June 19.

Local Conservatives are among those who have rallied in support of Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans following his arrest on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.

Ribble Valley Conservatives issued the following statement:

“Nigel Evans MP has represented the Ribble Valley Constituency with distinction for 21 years.

“He is widely liked and respected by his constituents for whom he has worked tirelessly.

“The officers and members of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association have got to know and respect him and are shocked about his arrest.

“We are believers in the rule of law and are aware these are merely allegations. The police and CPS have yet to decide if they are going to press charges.

“Nigel has now made a statement that the allegations are ‘completely false’ and he cannot understand why they have been brought.

“In our democracy everyone accused is innocent until proven guilty and, therefore, unless Nigel chooses himself to cease to be our MP or the electorate vote him out or justice system intervenes, we expect him to continue as normal to fulfil his duties in representing the people of the Ribble Valley.

“At the time of writing this statement the officers have not met or discussed the situation with Nigel and therefore cannot make any further comment at this time.”

Ken Hind, Chairman of Longridge Conservatives, added: “Nigel has been an outstanding MP.

“The allegations made against him are just that, he has not been charged and the CPS are deciding if the evidence is sufficiently strong to justify prosecution.

“In the last days he has had to suffer trial by media as his name was leaked. This is a very strong argument for the names of people under suspicion prior to charge not being made available to the press.

“The trial process following charge in a court room is where allegations should be answered. I believe that the rule of Law should be applied in these situtaions. Every suspect in English Law is innocent until proved otherwise.

“Unless, or until matters change, Nigel should continue to carry out his duties representing the Ribble Valley providing us with a strong voice in Parliament.” Speaking outside his home on Sunday Nigel Evans expressed his “sense of incredulity at these events”.

He said: “Yesterday I was interviewed by police concerning two complaints.

“One of which dates back four years made by two people who are well known to each other, and who until yesterday I regarded as friends.

“The complaints are completely false and I cannot understand why they have been made, especially as I have continued to socialise with one as recently as last week.”