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  1. ITV Report

Nigel Evans vows to 'robustly defend innocence'

Nigel Evans confirmed his resignation as Deputy Speaker during a speech in the Commons today as he vowed to "robustly defend his innocence" against a series of sex offence charges.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports:

Politicians on both sides of the House of Commons were united in silence as Mr Evans thanked his family, friends and colleagues for their support.

Evans told MPs: "This is clearly the most painful thing I have endured in my life alongside the loss of my mother in 2009 and the loss of my brother earlier this year."

Nigel Evans makes a personal statement to MPs in the House of Commons Credit: PA Wire

The 55-year-old confirmed his resignation as Deputy Speaker after he was charged with two counts of indecent assault, five of sexual assault and one of rape relating to seven alleged victims.

Quoting Winston Churchill, the MP said: "Winston Churchill said when you are going through hell, keep going. Sage advice. And so I will see this through to the end with the support of the people that mean so much to me."

Nigel Evans resigned as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Credit: PA Wire

The politician said he had been "left in limbo" since the allegations surfaced.

He went on to thank his family and friends for their support amid the serious allegations, before insisting he would "robustly defend" his innocence: " I now have the opportunity to robustly defend my innocence and seek acquittal."

Mr Evans has denied any wrongdoing and is due to appear before Preston Magistrates' Court on September 18.

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