MP Nigel Evans cleared of rape and assault charges

Swansea-born MP Nigel Evans has been found not guilty by a jury at Preston Crown Court of committing a string of sexual offences against seven men.

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Mike Penning: 'The police need to get their act together'

Minister for Disabled People Mike Penning MP talks to ITV News Credit: ITV News

Conservative MP and Minister for DisabledPeople, Mike Penning has added his voice to those demanding that the police and Crown Prosecution Service face more scrutiny in the wake of Nigel Evans' aquittal.

“For Nigel this must be a huge lift off his shoulders but he’s gone through absolutehell and what upset me a little bit earlier on as I was listening to one of the senior police officers after the court case talking about the victim and how they’re going to look after the victims.

"The jury decided here that Nigel was innocent of all charges; I can’t quite understand where the victims are.

"I think the police need to get their act together and we need to look very, very carefully whether cases like this, whether it’s a senior public official like Nigel or anybody, whether these cases should have been in the courts in the first place.”

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Prime Minister hints at Evans return

British PM David Cameron. Credit: Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

Prime Minister David Cameron has hinted will be brought back into the Tory fold as he joined those welcoming news that the MP had been cleared of sex offence charges.

The Prime Minister said it was "hard to imagine the relief" that the former deputy speaker was feeling after "such a traumatic time".

"I very much welcome what he said on the steps of the court and I think everyone should pay heed to that,"

"I'm sure he will want to get on with working with his constituents in the Ribble Valley and, as for the future, I'm sure it's something he'll be discussing with the chief whip when he returns to Parliament."

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CPS defends decision to take Nigel Evans MP to trial

The statue of "Lady Justice" by the British sculptor, Frederick William Pomeroy. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Archive

The Crown Prosecution Service has issued a statement defending its decision to take the Nigel Evans case to trial.

“The complainants in this case provided clear accounts of the alleged offending and it was right that all of the evidence was put before a jury," a CPS spokesperson said.

"That evidence could only be fully explored during a trial and the jury has decided, after hearing all of the evidence, that the prosecution has not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. We respect this decision.”

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Conservative MPs 'delighted' at Evans verdict

Tory Party MPs have welcomed Evans' aquittal and called for the Conservative whip to be restored to him.

Mark Pritchard and Alun Cairns supported calls for the justice system to come under scrutiny.

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Evans case: 'Police and CPS have questions to answer'

Nigel Evans speaks to the press. Credit: ITV News

An MP,and close friend of Nigel Evans for a number of years, has told ITV News that the police and CPS have serious questions to answer over their decision tocharge Nigel Evans.

The MP said "allegations have to be investigated but anyone could see that the evidence wasn't there in this case."

He feels the CPS and the police were "under pressure" to do something because Nigel Evans was a public figure. He will be asking them to justify their decision to prosecute Nigel Evans.

  1. National

Evans cleared of nine charges against seven men

Nigel Evans has been cleared of a string of sexual offences against young men. Credit: PA

Former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans faced nine separate charges against seven young men.

A jury at Preston Crown Court found Mr Evans, 56, not guilty of one count of rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults.

The Ribble Valley MP was alleged to have used his "powerful" political influence to take advantage of his alleged victims but the defence pointed out inconsistencies in various witness accounts and questioned the credibility of the evidence.

Mr Evans was a Conservative MP before he was elected in 2010 as one of three deputy speakers, a politically neutral role.

He stepped down as a deputy speaker last September after he was charged with the offences, involving men who were all in their 20s at the time.

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