1. National

Evans Commons duties on hold

Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans will not resume chairing duties in the chamber while police investigations continue into allegations of rape and sexual assault, a Commons spokesman said. Mr Evans denies the allegations.

View all 29 updates ›

Defence Secretary 'shocked' by Evans allegations

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he had been 'shocked' by the allegations about Nigel Evans. Credit: PA

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he is "shocked" by the allegations about Nigel Evans and suggested it could be "very difficult" for the MP to continue as deputy speaker while the matter was being investigated.

"I know Nigel well, I have known him for years. I'm obviously as shocked as everybody else is," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"I stick rigidly to the view that we should treat people as innocent until they are proven guilty but it is quite difficult to carry out a sensitive and high profile role while being under this kind of scrutiny."

Evans today branded the allegations as "completely false", adding that they had been made by two people he had regarded as friends.

More on this story