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Nigel Evans taking a 'few days off chair duty'

Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans told reporters in Westminster he intended to resume his duties in the Speaker's chair once debate on the Queen's Speech is over.

I'm also grateful to the Speaker for allowing me just a few days off chair duty during the Queen's speech so that I can concentrate on what I need to be doing but I will be having my regular meetings with the Speaker throughout this week and then resuming my chair duties straight after the Queen's speech is over.

I shall be in the chamber tomorrow waiting for Black Rod to bang on the door and taking part in that fantastic ceremony.

Nigel Evans 'overwhelmed' by support in wake of arrest

Nigel Evans has been "overwhelmed" by the support from colleagues and his constituency after he was arrested on suspicion of raping one man and sexually assaulting another.

The 55-year-old Conservative MP for the Ribble Valley said:

I'm overwhelmed by the number of colleagues who have come up to me. You know MPs don't shake hands but I've never shaken so many MPs hands as I have today and giving me support which is really helping me get through this.

I'm now going to return to the House of Commons, get a spot of lunch and then get back on with the work that I need to be doing as a constituency member of parliament for the Ribble Valley area and the area that I love and has shown me fantastic support over the last 48 hours, which, I've got to say have been the worst two days of my life.

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Andrew Mitchell defends Tory MP facing rape claim

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell said he "did not believe" allegations against Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans.

Mr Evans was arrested on suspicion of raping one man and sexually assaulting another between July 2009 and March 2013. He said the allegations are "completely false".

Mr Mitchell told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

If he were to resign now we would be in a terrible position where every public office holder would be open to blackmail and false stories in the media, triggering their resignation.

Nigel Evans has been a friend and colleague of mine for more than 20 years, I have known him in good times and in bad times and I certainly do not believe these allegations.

I think he should definitely continue in that role. We have three deputy speakers in the House of Commons so if necessary there can be a degree of burden- sharing.

He has not been charged, he has not been found guilty, and we do still live in a country where you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Deputy Commons Speaker denies rape allegations

Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans has hit out against the allegations of rape and sexual assault made against him, saying they are "completely false."

Speaking from his constituency in Ribble Valley, the Conservative MP said the last 24 hours have been "the worst of his life" and he cannot understand why the allegations have been made.

He says he has no plans to step-down, but has asked to be excused from his duties for the next week in case the police want to interview him. Political Correspondent Simon Harris reports.

Tory MP Nigel Evans says claims 'completely false'

Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans has rigorously denied allegations that he raped one man and sexually assaulted another.

Speaking from his constituency in the Ribble Valley, the Conservative MP said the claims are "completely false" and that the alleged victims, both men in their 20s, had been friends of his "until yesterday".

Mr Evans, 55, was arrested at his home in Pendleton, Lancashire, yesterday and was released on bail last night.

ITV News Political Correspondent Simon Harris reports from Lancashire:

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Nigel Evans 'to continue as normal', says constituency

The Ribble Valley Conservative Association has said they expected Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans to continue with his duties as usual, after the Lancashire MP was arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault yesterday. In a statement on their website, it said:

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 that these are merely allegations.

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